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One Hundred Thousand Times More Rogue Planets than Stars
Have we found the smoking gun?
Astronomers now say there are planet sized objects in the galaxy that are not associated with stars
There is a recent estimate that suggests that there are some 100,000 more planet sized bodies (1, 2) in the galaxy then there are stars and most of them are not associated with stars. The only thing they have in common with stars is that they follow a complex orbit around the galactic center. We now have a number to work with that reasonably fits well into the logarithmic function of size. Given our local region in the Galaxy where the solar system inhabits the Orion arm where the closest stellar neighbour is Alpha Centauri located 4.37 light years (3) from us suggests that for a cubic light year, there are some 1,200 rogue planets. All of these are close enough to be perturbed by the gravity of the sun, which is thought to extend out to one light year. This would put a large number of them within range of the solar system if we envisage the solar system at the center of the 1 light year cube. Half to .72 light year out in every direction we could find rogue planets of every size from brown dwarfs to Mercury or moon sized objects at various distances from the sun from just outside the inner edge of the Kuiper belt (4) out to the heliopause (5) and to half a light year out from there. Most would not be connected gravitationally to the sun and some would be captured objects. Though “just passing through”, some would have their paths perturbed slightly. This would be true of rogues within a light year of other stars. Some could get perturbed into a path toward us. Most would be small, but a handful could be huge lumbering giants, hidden in the inky dark of the interstellar depths. There is a possibility that one such giant was a former early solar system member that got ejected by another planet. The stunning fact of all these loose planets readily explains a number of mysteries, some of which were revealed by the two Voyager space probes launched in 1977 (6) and now at the fringes of the heliopause near interstellar space.
The mysteries that can now be accounted for are;
Gravitational anomalies that cannot be accounted for in the standard model minus rogue bodies
The highly eccentric orbits of some trans Neptunian planetesimals like Sedna
Uranus' strange orientation
aperiodic comet and asteroid storms and hyperbolic comets such as the recent comet 2011Elenin
Legends from various accounts of visitors as described by Velikovsky (7) and the so called Nibiru (8) planet
Periodic and aperiodic cataclysms upon the earth and the massive impact scarring of most solar system bodies
Legends of four great types of earth catastrophes
The fact of the “crowded” solar system with billions of objects (10) of all sizes.
The nature of the mysterious “dark matter” that makes up more of the cosmos than the visible
This Video suggest three rogue planets are near the solar system (To be taken with a grain of salt)
- Planet found floating alone in space without star | SciTech | GMA News Online
Astronomers said Wednesday they have found a lonely planet outside the solar system floating alone in space and not orbiting a star.
Major disasters strike earth on average around some 6,000 years and that figure would likely hold for other solar systems besides ours. Currently, we have been in a period of around 8,000 years without a civilization destroying event. The number of potential large threats within one light year would almost certainly guarantees more encounters in the future. Recent computer simulations of the early solar system suggest that there was a second Uranus or Neptune mass planet (11) that was ejected into interstellar space or at least to the far reaches of the Kuiper belt. This concept is backed up with findings or a large number of large mass rogue planets that have been discovered recently (12). One or more of these types of planets are likely well within one light year of the sun and may soon be discovered. We already know of hundreds of trans-Neptunian planetesimals in the Kuiper belt, two of which are in wildly eccentric orbits. That suggests that at least two large mass planets are located either within or near the edge of the Kuiper belt. Far more exist in orbits that are off the accretion plane and may be reminiscent of what has been made visible in the Helix Nebula due to a long past supernova that has revealed hundreds of objects that have trailed captured stellar gas post explosion. Almost all of these close to solar system rogue planets are moving in orbits centered around the gravitational center of the local group of stars or the galactic center. At least one may be still gravitationally bound to the sun and others could be in the path of a hyperbolic orbit, temporarily captured by the sun and set to make a plunge into the heart of the solar system.
When the Voyagers passed into the region of the Kuiper belt, they became unaccountably slower, suggesting that either the standard model of gravity was invalid, or that something massive was slowing them down. What could account for this, is a large amount of dark mass that slowed then down and in at least one case, a probe came close enough to a hidden large mass body. Two known trams-Neptunian Kuiper belt objects are on highly eccentric orbits and another one is incline by 47 degrees to the ecliptic (13). These three objects out of likely billions more that we don't know about have been perturbed out of orbit by three more massive objects to give them highly elliptical and/or inclined orbits. This is out of the small percentage that astronomers have confirmed at this point. How many more are affected are as yet, remained to be discovered.
Long ago, some catastrophe occurred to knock Uranus and its moons on its side so that the poles point alternately toward the sun once every 41 years. One idea suggests that an earth sized object struck a glancing blow and knocked the primordial planet into it present direction of rotation. In the process, material was scattered to create the moons that also orbit in a plane perpendicular to the rotational axis. Uranus is also surrounded by a complex dark ring structure, as are the rest of the gas giants. This even likely occurred billions of years ago. Velikovsky (14) suggests something similar happened to Jupiter with the result that Venus was “born” and found its way into the inner solar system. However, if the Venus idea of Velikovsky is true, it is more likely that Venus appeared to have come out of Jupiter when that planet pulled Venus into the inner solar system.
A few months ago in 2011, astronomers were witness to a comet (2011Elenin) (15) that was in a hyperbolic orbit. This find tells us that the material entered the solar system from interstellar space and was a one time visitor. Unfortunately, the comet disintegrated and vaporized when passing perihelion and is nothing more than dust now trapped in the inner solar system, much of which will be carried off by the solar wind. But, what this comet does tell us, is that there are bodies in interstellar space, likely of all sizes and that they do penetrate the solar system from time to time. Thus it is only a matter of time before something of considerably greater size does the same thing.
Legends describe epic battles in the sky as the “gods” (planets) battled it out. The Sumerian account according to some, suggest that the solar system was penetrated by a rogue planet in ancient times that began an age of chaos. This planet has been called Nibiru (16) by some who have written fanciful accounts of it's nature and of a soon to occur second encounter to begin a new age of chaos. This description is typical for a periodic body on a highly elliptical orbit and not a rogue planet. There is no substantial evidence as yet for the existence of Nibiru, but gathering evidence of nearby rogue planets.
There is no doubt that the solar system has been a violent place in the past and some would tell us that the threat has not subsided. The evidence for the violence is all around us on all planets and moons that lack an atmosphere and are geologically stable. All of them including our own moon is smothered with craters, the evidence of a copious number of past fatal encounters of small objects crashing into lager ones. There is also very little doubt about the existence of large numbers of asteroids and comets either that can act as a source for impacting material. All it takes to get one on track for a fatal collision is for a major planet to kick it into fatal resonance with its own orbital period. Such an example of this occurred in July of 1994 when SL-9 (17) crashed into Jupiter and gave us a spectacular “front row seat” to a huge cataclysm. It was estimated that if such a high speed impact occurred on earth, that it would have had global consequences. Though the comet was local to the solar system, it does tell us of the risks involved both by local and interstellar objects. Such an encounter on earth creates four main types of earth cataclysms involving mega-tsunamis, volcanic winters with the earth in explosion, global fire storms and winds that will level everything in their path. They all have the same source. Until now, there was no way to know when these things could be possible well enough in advance to do anything about it.
Periodic and aperiodic catastrophe is what is behind extinction events and cycles (18) upon the earth. There are many causes, but the two main ones are by impacts that trigger other events, the motion of the solar system around the galactic center and the changes within the galaxy itself, especially at its center. One type of catastrophe is based in or near the solar system and the other is galactic in nature. Both have their cycles and these are superimposed on one another to give us an aperiodic occurrence of major world shaking events.
Astronomers are learning that the solar system is a “crowded place” buzzing with lots of activity by objects as small as bits of dust all the way up to Jupiter mass planets. What is more, this collection of material appears to extend all the way to interstellar space and crowds the regions between stars. The solar system itself contains billions of objects from the size of 100 meter bodies on up to the TNO sizes seen in the Kuiper Belt. There are no doubt a few very large ones too that astronomers have not found yet. It is only a matter of time. Some may have already been seen, but not enough to plot an orbit.
The nature of dark matter has been determined to be a twofold phenomenon. Much of it shapes entire galaxies and is of a type astronomers are still working to determine. The other is the matter that makes up the rogue bodies in orbit around the galactic center like the stars and outnumbers the 200 billion stars by 100,000 to one. This recent calculation is causing plenty of rethinking in many different directions including the nature of life and where it is located. It may well be that extremophiles are the normal form of life and that what we know of life is abnormal and rare.
Astronomers Now Think Two Large Planets Lurk in the Distant Reaches of the Solar System
- New dwarf planet hints at giant world far beyond Pluto - space - 26 March 2014 - New Scientist
The orbit of a newly discovered dwarf planet could signal the existence of a rocky world, 10 times bigger than Earth, lurking in the solar system's fringes
- News - Are two massive planets lurking beyond the orbit of Pluto? - The Weather Network
Could two dark giants lurk beyond the outer solar system? Evidence from the orbits of tiny dwarf planets is hinting that the answer is yes.
Watch an Artists impression of a Rogue planet or MACHO in action
- BBC News - 'Free-floating' planets found with no star in sight
Astronomers claim to have found free-floating "planets" which do not seem to orbit a star.