At the end of our solar system, some unknown object manipulates the paths of ice pieces as they orbit the sun.
These oval-shaped orbits are directed in the same direction and tilted in the same way, suggesting that they are not invisible by power.
Initially, scientists believed that the culprit was a mysterious planet they called Planet Nine (though some call it Planet X).
But a new book suggests that gravitational pull may come from an original black hole – a type of small black hole that scientists have theorized to have formed during the Big Bang.
Although the existence of primordial black holes has not been confirmed, some scientists believe the universe is teeming with them. If they exist, such black holes could account for 80 percent of the universe that scientists cannot see.
They know that this "dark matter" exists because its gravity pulls at things throughout the universe.
A new book published Tuesday in arXiv, an online research repository that has not been screened, suggests that Planet Nine may be one of those ancient black holes. Researchers have suggested new ways to pursue this mysteriously missing piece.
"Once you start thinking about more exotic objects, such as primary black holes, think different ways," James Unwin, a theoretical physicist and co-author of the article, told Gizmodo.
"We stand for it, instead of looking for it in visible light, maybe looking for it in gamma rays. Or cosmic rays."
Planet 9 explains the strange orbits of distant objects
Within our solar system are thousands of small ice bodies that make up the region that astronomers call the Kuiper Belt. Six of these objects appear to have strange orbits that indicate that an unknown source of gravity is pulling at them.
In this study, planetary scientists Konstantin Batigin and Michael Brown estimated that gravitational pull was planet Nine means that it can have up to 10 times the mass of Earth.
The average mysterious body orbits the Sun 20 times farther from Neptune – about 18.6 billion miles. It can take between 10,000 and 20,000 years to complete a journey around the Sun. (Pluto, by comparison, takes 248 years to complete its orbit.)
Batigin and Brown suggest that Planet Nine may have formed in the same way as the gas giants we know well – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune – starting as an ice core, then grabbing all the gas around it.
Planet Nine may have come too close to Jupiter or Saturn, they suggested, and was thrown to the edges of the solar system, where it now follows an eccentric orbit and affects objects on the Kuiper Belt.
Because the mysterious world exerts such a powerful gravitational force on a large region of the solar system, Brown called it "the planet-y of the planets in the entire solar system." But that may not be the case.
Instead of a planet, it could be the original black hole
In a new study, researchers looked at the data of the strange orbits of six Kuiper objects and also included recent observations of how light traveling through the solar system appears to be bending due to an object (or objects) that the scientist has not reported.
Both of these strange phenomena are probably caused by the interference of unknown objects, each of similar mass. So the original black hole could be to blame for both, the study suggests. This can be a black hole with a size of 10-Earth bowling ball or a series of smaller black holes that are added to that table.
Researchers also said that a dense group of free-floating planets outside our solar system could explain the light of bending; by that logic, Planet Nine could be one of those free roamers that has been captured by our solar system.
Indeed, Batigin told Gizmodo, Planet Nine could be any kind of low visibility object with the right mass.
"Planet Nine can be a burger with five earth masses," he said. "But a black hole the size of your wallet is a little harder to find."
The scientists behind the new study say that direct observations of the mysterious object – if astronomers could find it – could help determine if it was a planet or a black hole.
So, hunting nine on the planet, they believe, should involve the search for moving sources of X-ray rays, gamma rays and other types of radiation, as these clues may indicate The Black Hole Ends.
If scientists find such signals, they could determine if Planet Nine was a black hole all the time.
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