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Alexander Mustill. Profile picture.

Alexander Mustill

Researcher

Alexander Mustill. Profile picture.

Is there an exoplanet in the Solar system?

Author

  • A.~J. Mustill
  • S.~N. Raymond
  • M.~B. Davies

Summary, in English

We investigate the prospects for the capture of the proposed Planet 9 from other stars in the Sun's birth cluster. Any capture scenario must satisfy three conditions: the encounter must be more distant than ∼150 au to avoid perturbing the Kuiper belt; the other star must have a wide-orbit planet (a ≳ 100 au); the planet must be captured on to an appropriate orbit to sculpt the orbital distribution of wide-orbit Solar system bodies. Here we use N-body simulations to show that these criteria may be simultaneously satisfied. In a few per cent of slow close encounters in a cluster, bodies are captured on to heliocentric, Planet 9-like orbits. During the ∼100 Myr cluster phase, many stars are likely to host planets on highly eccentric orbits with apastron distances beyond 100 au if Neptune-sized planets are common and susceptible to planet–planet scattering. While the existence of Planet 9 remains unproven, we consider capture from one of the Sun's young brethren a plausible route to explain such an object's orbit. Capture appears to predict a large population of trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) whose orbits are aligned with the captured planet, and we propose that different formation mechanisms will be distinguishable based on their imprint on the distribution of TNOs.

Department/s

  • Lund Observatory
  • eSSENCE: The e-Science Collaboration

Publishing year

2016-07-21

Language

English

Pages

109-113

Publication/Series

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters

Volume

460

Document type

Journal article

Publisher

Oxford University Press

Topic

  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology

Keywords

  • Kuiper belt: general
  • planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability
  • planets and satellites: individual: Planet 9
  • planetary systems
  • open clusters and associations: general

Status

Published

Project

  • IMPACT: Comets, asteroids and the habitability of planets

ISBN/ISSN/Other

  • ISSN: 1745-3933