Astronomers Claim To Find A Super-Earth In Our Solar System

Posted: Dec 12 2015, 2:55am CST | by , Updated: Dec 12 2015, 8:07am CST, in News | Latest Science News


Astronomers Claim to Found a Super-Earth in Our Solar System
Credit: NASA

Astronomers from Sweden and Mexico suspect that they possibly found not just one but two massive planets in the far reaches of our solar system.

For decades, astronomers have speculated that a massive planet is existent in the far reaches of our solar system. Its powerful gravitational influence was felt disturbing the orbits of the objects yet it remained undetected despite using some of the most advanced telescopes on Earth. They called this undetected planet ‘Planet X.’

Recently, a group of astronomers have claimed to have found not just one but two such massive planets in the outer reaches of our solar system, including a ‘Super-Earth’ located some six times farther away than Pluto.

Using the Atacama large millimeter/submillimeter array (ALMA) telescope, researchers from Sweden and Mexico noticed two distant objects lurking in the solar system. They are unable to tell exactly how far these objects are but their brightness and speed suggest that they are more likely planets rather than stars.

“The understanding of the formation of stellar and planetary systems requires the understanding of the structure and dynamics of their outermost regions, where large bodies are not expected to form. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is particularly sensitive to point sources and it presents currently the only means to detect Sedna-like objects far beyond their perihelia.” One of the studies read.

Researchers were looking at a distant star called W Aquilae and the nearby star Alpha Centuari, when they stumbled across two distant objects in solar system. They named one of the candidates ‘Gna’ while the other, which appeared adjacent to star system Alpha Centuari, is yet unnamed. They suspect it may be a Super Earth.

 “We report the discovery of previously unknown continuum sources, or a single fast new source, in our ALMA observations…Our observations highlight the power of ALMA in detecting possible solar system objects, but also show how multiple epoch observations are crucial to identify what are otherwise probably assumed to be extra-galactic source.” Other paper stated.

Both the groups have submitted two separate papers to the online journal, announcing their discovery. Yet neither of the paper has been accepted for peer-review. But they manage to achieve considerable amount of attention because of their extraordinary claims.

These claims worth consideration nevertheless because when astronomers looked for a Planet X beyond Uranus in 1846, they discovered Neptune and when they searched for another planet beyond Neptune in 1930, they ended up finding Pluto. 

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The Author

Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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