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An Alternative to Planet 9: Maybe There Is Nothing Special

5 May 2020, 16:00 UTC
An Alternative to Planet 9: Maybe There Is Nothing Special
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Editor’s note: Astrobites is a graduate-student-run organization that digests astrophysical literature for undergraduate students. As part of the partnership between the AAS and astrobites, we occasionally repost astrobites content here at AAS Nova. We hope you enjoy this post from astrobites; the original can be viewed at astrobites.org.
Title: Testing the Isotropy of the Dark Energy Survey’s Extreme Trans-Neptunian Objects
Authors: Pedro H. Bernardinelli, Gary M. Berstein, Masao Sako et. al
First Author’s Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Status: Submitted to The Planetary Science Journal (PSJ)
Out beyond the orbit of Neptune lie small solar system bodies called trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs). They are rocky, icy, dirt balls that lie far beyond Neptune for the majority of their orbits, but their perihelia exist within the orbit of Neptune, or less than about 30 AU.
Figure 1: The orbits of the seven trans-Neptunian objects discovered in the Dark Energy Survey. These are polar plots, so it’s similar to what we would see if we looked at the orbits of these objects from a (space)bird’s-eye view. The figure on the left shows the full extent of their orbits; green orbits have an aphelion (their furthest extent) greater than 250 AU, purple orbits have an ...

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