Is a Ninth Planet Responsible for the orbits of Sedna & the additional Transcultural Planets?

Sedna, V774104, 2013 RF98, 2012 VP113,
2010 GB174, 2007 TG422, 2004 VN112

Nick Anthony Fiorenza

A Ninth Planet?

Astronomers Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin published a paper on January 20, 2016 presenting a "hypothesis" based upon "computer modeling" that a large planet "could be responsible" for the orbital perturbations of six recently discovered smaller distant minor planets (Sedna, 2012 VP113, etc.), which I call the Transcultural Planets. (Mike Brown; et. al., discovered Eris, Haumea, Makemake, and Sedna).

There has not yet been a discovery of such a planet, nor has one been seen, and Brown and Batygin are not even sure of an exact location should one exist, although the hunt is on. Mike explains that for the calculations to work, the hypothesized planet would have to be at least the size of Earth or a mini-sized Neptune with a dense core of about 10 times the "mass" of Earth. It's aphelion (furthest distance from the Sun during its orbit) would have to be about 20 billion to 100 billion miles away and with an orbital period of about 10,000 to 20,000 years (Pluto's aphelion is about 4.6 billion miles).

 Orbtial Illustration showing the potential location of a Ninth Planet

Illustration showing the potential location of a Ninth Planet based upon
the orbits of six recently discovered minor planets, Sedna, 2013 RF98, 2012 VP113,
2010 GB174, 2007 TG422, and 2004 VN112
Illustration courtesy of California Institute of Technology

The Minor Planet V774104

The Brown-Batygin computer modeling hypothesis comes along with the November 10, 2015 announcement of another recently discovered dwarf planet by Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science, designated V774104. Sheppard and colleagues made the discovery using Japan’s Subaru Telescope in Hawaii. V774104 is currently about 15.4 billion kilometers from the Sun (103 AU) and is estimated to be between 500 and 1000 kilometers across. (It will take at least a year to determine its orbital parameters).


Sky & Telescope January 20, 2016

Mike Brown's paper published on January 20, 2016

Scott Sheppard & V774104


The Transcultural Planets