Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Is There a Planet Nine *AND* Ten?!


de la Fuente Marcos et al


The distribution of the orbital elements of the known extreme trans-Neptunian objects or ETNOs has been found to be statistically incompatible with that of an unperturbed asteroid population following heliocentric or, better, barycentric orbits. Such trends, if confirmed by future discoveries of ETNOs, strongly suggest that one or more massive perturbers could be located well beyond Pluto. Within the trans-Plutonian planets paradigm, the Planet Nine hypothesis has received much attention as a robust scenario to explain the observed clustering in physical space of the perihelia of seven ETNOs which also exhibit clustering in orbital pole position. Here, we revisit the subject of clustering in perihelia and poles of the known ETNOs using barycentric orbits, and study the visibility of the latest incarnation of the orbit of Planet Nine applying Monte Carlo techniques and focusing on the effects of the apsidal anti-alignment constraint. We provide visibility maps indicating the most likely location of this putative planet if it is near aphelion. We also show that the available data suggest that at least two massive perturbers are present beyond Pluto.

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