Mar 30, 2016

Planet 9 May Hail From Sun’s Stellar Birth Cluster

Posted by in category: space

Planet 9, if indeed it’s out there, may have been stripped from one of our Sun’s stellar siblings, very early in the life of our solar system. The idea is that the Sun’s original birth cluster of at least a 1000 stars was pretty crowded and there was ample opportunity to gravitationally strip a planet from a stellar brother or sister. But guess stars don’t get jealous, eh?

A possible super-earth lying on our solar system’s outer fringes may have been captured from a star in our Sun’s original stellar birth cluster, Alexander James Mustill, an astronomer at Lund University in Sweden, tells me.

Even though Planet 9’s existence still remains up for debate, a growing body of evidence for nearly decade now indicates the presence of a planet some 10 times the mass of Earth that orbits the Sun at a distance of up to 900 astronomical units (or Earth-Sun distances).

Mustill says that depending on how long the Sun stayed in proximity with its stellar siblings, indeed, Planet 9 may have been captured within the first 100 million years of our star’s formation. As Mustill notes, evidence suggests that the Sun was born into a large open cluster of at least a thousand stars.

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