Published: Tue, October 01, 2019
Research | By Sheri Schwartz

Astronomers have suspected black hole at the border of the Solar system

Astronomers have suspected black hole at the border of the Solar system

But if the object is a planet-mass black hole, the physicists say, it would likely be surrounded by a halo of dark matter that could stretch up to 1 billion kilometers on every side.

"Once you start thinking about more exotic objects, like primordial black holes, you think in different ways", James Unwin, a theoretical physicist and co-author of the paper, told Gizmodo.

The gravitational effects of this black hole could explain why objects beyond Neptune have odd orbits, and also why Planet Nine has not been directly observed.

They aren't throwing the Planet 9 (also known as Planet X) hypothesis out the window; however, they hope that the possibility they are suggesting will take astronomers' creativity further, to broaden their scope of search. "These events correspond to lensing by objects of mass [of about] 0.5 [Earth masses] to 20 [Earth masses] and could be interpreted as an unexpected population of free floating planets or Primordial Black Holes". Just think of this for a moment.

Unlike normal black holes, primordial black holes are thought to originate from gravitational perturbations that happened within one second after the Big Bang. Although we can't detect dark matter directly, we can look for dark matter particles interacting and creating bursts of gamma rays which would give a clue to the presence of a black hole. Or cosmic rays, ' Unwin says.

In that study, planetary scientists Konstantin Batygin and Michael Brown calculated that Planet Nine's gravitational pull means it could have up to 10 times the mass of Earth. The researchers believe that the odd object may be high-density black hole with size on par with that of a bowling ball. A 10-Earth mass one, then, would be about the size of a bowling ball. In the new study, scientists have proposed a way of tracking such a black hole. Those anomalies would come and go as Planet Nine moves in front of a distant star and continues in its orbit.

The Earth Orbiting Gamma Ray Space Telescope, Fermi, has been tirelessly monitoring the entire sky since 2008. So the hunt for Planet Nine, they suggest, should include a search for moving sources of x-rays, gamma rays, and other types of radiation, since those clues could indicate the edges of a black hole.

For the new study, researchers looked at data on the six Kuiper Belt objects' weird orbits and also incorporated recent observations about how light traveling through the solar system appears to be bending due to an object (or objects) that scientist haven't accounted for.

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