Mystery Objects With Strange Orbits Discovered in Outer Solar System –“There’s More Going On Than We’re Fully Aware Of”

 

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A new discovery hints that our solar system has more than one orbital plane, and these other planes might be teeming with mysterious planetoids hiding in previously unexplored places. A strange object, approximately 124 miles wide, named Niku (which means “rebellious” in Chinese), has been discovered beyond Neptune that doesn’t circle the sun on the same orbital plane as the planets do, reported Matthew Holman at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Instead it orbits the sun backwards with a 110-degree inclination, compared to other planetary objects.


“It suggests that there’s more going on in the outer solar system than we’re fully aware of,” said Holman part of the team that discovered Niku (below). It’s possible that Niku and other objects like it have some other origin that scientists are currently unaware of.

 

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It’s actually the second object discovered that has such a retrograde orbit, after the discovery of the less-elegantly named 2008 KV42, so more uncanny worlds are probably awaiting discovery out there.

How exactly these objects have achieved their bizarre orbits is a mystery. The reason most of the rest of the objects in our solar system all orbit on the same plane is because they were formed from the same original gas cloud, which spun in a particular direction creating our Sun.

The image above shows the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud in the outer Solar System –a Cosmic Smog, a galaxy-wide Oort Soup, containing gas, dust, planetesimals, planets, and black dwarf stars of sub-solar mass, in which there are occasional volumes where a mass aggregation great enough to form a working star has occurred.

The Daily Galaxy via New Scientist and Wired.com

Image credit: deepspaceexplorers.org and media.mnn.com

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