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A 10th Planet in Our Solar System?

Roblimo posted more than 14 years ago | from the reefs-of-space dept.

Science 218

Apuleius writes "Here's a BBC story about a planet that may be orbiting the sun at 30,000 AU (Pluto's at 30 AU)...." This new wanderer, which may not have been created during the original formation of our system, according to the story, orbits the Sun backwards compared to the other planets. There's one in every crowd, isn't there?

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Re:Okay...what does it mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1632313)

Always seems someone has to post about how some article is "not news for nerds, or stuff that matters" or whatnot,
but this time, it's pretty damned obvious: geeks and nerds love science. Astronomy is a branch of science.
Heck, we can even go a different route by saying: geeks and nerds love sci-fi. Sci-fi is often riddled with astronomy.
Quite relevant. ;)

Going backwards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1632324)

Does that imply that this thing follows the ecliptic? If it's really from outside the Solar System originally, the chances of it being in the same plane as the other planets would be pretty slim.

Re:orbiting time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1632327)

The Sun is not going to explode. It is going through some cycles and the next stage will probably cause a growth beyond Pluto but it is not going to explode.

It might be still a good idea to get ones lower back out of here in due time then 8)

Re:high in the sky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1632330)

I saw her too and god bless you, Hell - a - Loo - Ya I said It was truly a mind blowing experience, until My Nerd god "Ner" (god of all gods an universes) decided to put a holy censorship motion into play, which triggered the collapse of our newly discovered tenth planet into a partial vortex, and as Planet X went down the singularity shoot, Ner uttered a lament to all Earthly sinners "thou shalt be a nerd, and remove ones mind from such things, and focus on da Earth. Leaveth the heavens to me". Then he of course he vanished in cloud of smoke, never to return, leaving only a short message in a few strategic universal nebula gas billboards, near the center of 10 to the power of 11, galaxy centers. And the msg of course most will know "Sorry for the inconvience :-) Have a nice day and don't get too caught up in it all like me :-) JLL (The lazy anonymous coward, cause I can't be bothered creating an acct yet)

Deep Space 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1632331)

The NASA probe Deep Space 1 uses an ion drive. http://nmp.jpl.nasa.gov/ds1/ It's mostly to test out a varity of technologies. The xenon propellant ion drive appears to have worked fine. It's solar powered, and therefore wouldn't be much use for this mission, but as you say a neuclear power source could be used.

i didn't know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1632334)

Hell, have I missed the news again? I didn't know they shot Marlon Brando into space... Can anyone of the math-freaks above calculate the energy used up for this?

Nibiru (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1632335)

Planet X [Nibiru] has a theoretic long elliptical orbit of 3600 years. Its collision course with Earth has been predicted at 2012 which 'coincidentally' is when the ancient Mayan calender suddenly ends.
Ancient Sumerians stated that the orbit was clockwise around the Earth contrary to the counter-clockwise orbits of the rest of the planets in our system. There are detailed diagrams which provide its orbit far beyond Pluto at times and then coming between Earth and Mars when it nears the closest point of solar ellipse. Every 3600 years, major events which have been documented by ancient and modern historians/physicists/astronomers have occured on earth in conjunction with the passing of Nibiru; Great Floods [x2], unexplained boosts in human development, etc. Major ancient observatories are based around the Earth at the same latitude which all point to the Southern Skies where Nibiru's hemispheric entry is thought to take place.
Zechariah Sitchin faithfully recorded and translated thousands of ancient tablets which clearly provide navigational maps for astronauts entering the 7th planet [Earth] from the outer solar system rim. There are UFOs in the bible, and various ancient landmarks on our planet and Mars. and a stack of information waiting to see the light of day under the Sphinx [Hall of Records]. The decipherment of the Sumerian culture's clay tablets, buried for millennia, reveals roots that stretch all the way back to 450,000 B.C. Sumerians claimed roots back to Nibiru.
Take it or leave it... but there's only 12 years till countdown kids.

Get the pudding out, there back! :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1632341)

(Score: -1 deranged)

Re:orbiting time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1632346)

Basically, it won't complete an orbit before our Sun explodes. That's assuming it's actually in orbit - it may just be passing through. Or even cooler, it could be headed right for us! That'd motivate those bastards in Congress to fund a space program, for sure.

Re:Aha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1632348)

I can't believe a person gave up the chance to say "first post!" just so he could make a racist comment. What a waste of a life...

Re:Curious... 1 question, 1 comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1632352)

comment:

Sure, they didn't give mass, but with a volume many times jupiter, it's gotta be big enough to qualify, even if it's primarily gas and what not.

question:

I missed the whole pluto thing. But isn't Pluto actually two (a binary) body? One was called Pluto and the other one was... erm. the Character from Greek mythology who took the boat across the river styx?

Or am I dillusional?

Re:Planet X never dies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1632358)

Father Antos lives on X!

10th planet was found couple years ago. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1632359)

actually, isn't this the 11th planet? a 10th planet was found a couple years ago, i think near saturn, jupitor? it was the size of a an average city, but because it orbited the sun like any other planet, it was classed a planet.

Another fiction with this ingredients (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1632362)

There is a Manga comic called 2001 nights or something which is about a 10th planet orbiting the sun backwards. It is also made out of anti-matter, which they have to go there to find out. It all fits nicely into all periodic catastrophe theory. Patrik

Okay...what does it mean? (0)

JoeShmoe (90109) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632363)

First of all...I'm not one to whine about postings but REALLY...how does this fall under "news for nerds" or "stuff that matters"

Let's say you can prove there article is true...

BFD? There is probably a ton of crap out there that has yet to be discovered. Before we go rewriting all the science books, shouldn't we consider if someone this "large" and this "far away" is even a planet at all?

It's like back in the 16th century when people thought the Earth stood still and everything else move around. For all we know OUR sun is orbitting around this thing, or even some other much larger thing...

Which brings me back to my original point...since when does someone coming up with a new theory about a rock 30 gazillion miles away have ANYTHING at all to do with my fairly diverse nerd life?

Just my OPINION...but I think my submission about Visor's now being on sale (though not yet shipping) would have been a much more nerdly topic for the front page.

- JoeShmoe

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

orbiting time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1632364)

I don't know for sure, but isn't the orbiting period related to the distance to the sun? What would be the orbiting time for this 'planet'? bye, pieter

The 12th Planet Re:ever heard of the 13th planet. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1632365)

The book was "The 12th Planet" by Zecharia Sitchin. As to his educational background from his website (www.sitchin.com):

"Zecharia Sitchin is one of a small number of scholars who can read the Sumerian clay tablets which trace Earth's and human events to the earliest times. He was born in Russia and raised in Palestine, where he acquired a profound knowledge of modern and ancient Hebrew and of other Semitic and European languages, the Old Testament, and the history and archaeology of the Near East. He graduated from the University of London, majoring in Economic History, having attended the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Sitchin is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Oriental Society, the Middle East Studies Association of North America, and the Israel Exploration Society."

Sitchin has written five books including "The 12th Planet" about the influences of 'extraterrestrial gods' on our civilization.

Re:Planet X never dies (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1632366)

Yeah I've heard a couple times about the discovery of planets past Pluto. Assumably, these were just found out to be wrong a bit later. My question is this: is there a groovy website that details the Planet X false alarms? ... Thanks!

LET'S DO THE MATH (1)

euroderf (47) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632367)

it says it's
"three billion billion miles" from the sun,

"30,000 times more distant from the Sun than the Earth, putting it a significant fraction of the distance to the nearest star"

so that's 3e18 miles, or 30,000 times 1e14 miles-to-Earth, which means at 1.86e5 miles per second, light would take 5.37e8 seconds to get to Earth, when in fact earth is eight light-minutes from the Sun, or about 4.8e2 light-seconds, so their [the BBC's] math does not sound right !!

if we attack it a different way, 30,000 times 8 light-minutes is 24,000 light-minutes, or 400 light-hours, or 16.7 light days, which is only a bit over 1% of the way to Proxima Centauri, so this does not sound right either; it is hardly "a significant fraction of the distance to the nearest star"

Re:Going backwards? (1)

Yarn (75) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632370)

I believe the gravitational influence of the other planets would pull it into the ecliptic/the ecliptic up to it.

Re:Watch out for the Cybermen (1)

Sabalon (1684) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632376)

Damn!!! I was gonna post something like that.

Guess we'll have to name the planet Mondos now :)

Re:orbiting time (1)

substrate (2628) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632378)

From the article:

Being so far from the Sun - three thousand billion miles - it
would take almost six million years to orbit it.

"This would explain why it has not been found," explained Dr
Murray to BBC News Online. "It would be faint and moving very
slowly."

Nemesis (1)

way_out (2820) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632379)

This is not all new, because there has been a theory called the "nemesis theory" which is an extension to the catastrophe theory. It states that there have been quite a lot of impacts on earth that more or less caused mass extinction. The impact that killed the dinosaurs is just one of them. Some scientists have found a strange cycle in those impacts of about 20 million years. They figured it must be caused by a small star, doubling with the sun. This sounds like more evidence for that theory.

wayout

Watch out for the Cybermen (1)

Gibbo (3044) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632380)

Odd to here the news is from the BBC. Maybe Dr. Who was a documentary series...:-)

Re:Probability? (1)

rve (4436) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632382)

But the new planet would be 30,000 times more distant from the Sun than the Earth, putting it a significant fraction of the distance to the nearest star.

What does he mean by significant fraction?



30000 Times the distance from the earth to the sun would be about 0.5 lightyear. The nearest star other than our sun is about 4.5 lightyears away.

If there really is a massive planet orbiting the sun at half a lightyear away, there is no hope of ever sending a probe and taking pictures.

YUGGOTH! (1)

cthonious (5222) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632384)

Oh the horror. Proof that shub-internet actually exists, if one thinks even for a moment. I can't believe people are worried about Y2K or the New World Order when there are crawling cthuloid horrors like this running and bleeping and bleating and croaking along our networks right among the more mundane packets of daily email, slashdot posts and Britney Spears mp3's.

At one time I had some hope but better, far better, to live in shameful ignorance than even take slight cognizance of the sanity depriving crawling chaos. Take comfort that the Pope is sanctioning new internet saints and that scientists are the ones responsible for this discovery. Yeah, right.

Say what you want, but when these subterranean horrors meet up with their elders .... I mean, it's not what they done, but what they're a goin' to do.

Re:high in the sky (1)

arielb (5604) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632385)

you saw a gorgeous female on bbc? impossible

Not, maybe. (1)

Byteme (6617) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632386)

This may not be a planet.... Do any astronomers reading Slashdot know if 30,000AU would qualify this as a planet via Bode's Law? If it is, wouldn't there be other objects between it and the Sun? It may be a moon that was sent into this retro orbit by some collision, as it is believed of Pluto.

Linux- Viva La Revolution!

Why go there? (1)

ToastyKen (10169) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632387)

Why bother going there? Why not just get a bigass telescope and look at it? It's not like there'd be any life there or anything.

Re:Nemesis (1)

ToastyKen (10169) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632388)

Slightly off-topic: Isaac Asimov wrote novel called "Nemesis" that I thought was one of his better books.

Re:Planet X never dies (1)

IainBowen (10783) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632389)

There have always been different stories for Planet 'X', most of then disappeared when the Kuiper Belt started to be discovered. There was a story with Pioneer 10 earlier this year which had it suffering orbital peturbations from KB objects.

If it does exists, it's too far away for a probe with current technology.

I suppose they will call it Prosperine (Pluto's wife) as that appears to be widely used in SF for a tenth planet.

Curious... (1)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632391)

There is mention of a "massive" object, but no mention of its estimated mass. Given that Pluto may be de-regulated from its status as a planet (has anyone heard the results of this?) due to its insignifigant size and mass, is it fair to speculate on the existance of this as another planet?

Of course, if this object is massive enough to divert the course of comets then I suppose it is reasonable to assume that it would qualify as massive enough to factor as a planet...

Its nothing but pure speculation at this point, but that does not prevent it from being fascinating.

Re:ever heard of the 13th planet. (1)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632392)

I just lent the book out, but Carl Sagan utterly destroyed this argument in the book Broca's Brain.
-Chapter on the paradoxers.


(Don't mean to rain on your parade :)

Re:Curious... 1 question, 1 comment (1)

MattyT (13116) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632394)

Charon I think it is.

The Moon and Earth are a binary planetary system too, it's only there's a greater mass difference and, well, a slight difference in materials and hence living conditions.

Re:Curious... (1)

MattyT (13116) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632395)

I thought that the question of Pluto as a planet was really more of the question of its origins and its composition than its mass.

Off memory I think one theory is it came from a big asteroid belt orbiting our solar system a lot further out, but don't quote me on that.

There's really no definition of a planet to my knowledge, it's more of a touchy feely thing, and that's the reason you get holy ways among astronomers about Pluto. =)

Re:Curious... (1)

MattyT (13116) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632396)

Yeah, the Oort cloud, that's the asteroid belt, that's it, maybe I should read the article first. =)

Minor Planets (1)

kevlar (13509) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632397)

Pluto has always been considered a boarder-line minor planet. A Minor planet is basicly something the size of a small moon or large asteroid orbiting in our solar system. They don't tell the mass, so I assume that this is just what it is, a minor planet. There are a lot of minor planets out there, so this guy finding one would not be that much of a break through. Pluto is only famous because it was found a long time ago and became famous (1930's I think). The technique this astronomer used to find it is cool, its been done before to find planets exterior to our solar system through.

Re:This 10th planet (1)

stx23 (14942) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632401)

I claim my 10 points, and humbly point out that someone cracked that one higher in the thread. nb, I think you got the spelling correct.
Was that the one where Adric bought the farm?

Ork!! (1)

MoToMo (17253) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632408)

We should name it Ork!

Needn't be a planet (1)

GC (19160) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632412)

Could just be some large object, doesn't necessarily imply that it is a planet.

What is the definition of a planet anyway, and what makes it different from an asteroid.

Isn't this the 3rd tenth planet to be discovered in as many years?

Re:Rupert! (1)

Hobaird (20269) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632414)

Rupert? I hope you're right, because my first thought was that it was Unicron!

Re:orbiting time (1)

sec (20916) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632415)

According to that article, the orbiting time is 6 million years.

The last I heard, scientists gave our sun about another 5 billion years before it explodes.

That means that the planet, if that is indeed what it is, will orbit the sun another 833 times, give or take a few, before the sun explodes.

Are you, by any chance, off by a factor of 10^3? :)

Re:orbiting time (1)

sec (20916) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632416)

According to that article, the orbiting time is 6 million years.

The last I heard, scientists gave our sun about another 5 billion years before it explodes.

That means that the planet, if that is indeed what it is, will orbit the sun another 833 times, give or take a few, before the sun explodes.

Rupert! (1)

Ivo (26920) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632425)

Hi,

this must be the planet Rupert! (Ever read the 5th part of the Hitch Hiker's Guide to The Galaxy?)

Greetings,
Ivo

Re:Rupert! (1)

Ivo (26920) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632426)

Let's send a probe to that planet. Maybe they already have all this stuff there. :-)

I'd really like to know what a Perfectly Normal Beast sandwich tastes like. :)

Re:Nemesis (1)

plunge (27239) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632430)

In my professional opinion as a janitor, I think that theory is a little weak on the evidence. Even if a huge mass was deflecting comets from the Oort cloud, why exactly would they consistently hit Earth every 20 million years? There's a lot of empty space out there- even if a whole legion of comets got sent our way, they would have much more chance of hitting us than shooting a bunch of electrons at a nucleus.

Re:high in the sky (1)

PigleT (28894) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632431)

That's OK. I refrain from actually *believing* any of the unintegrated & primitive poetry stuff too.

OTOH, an analogy for you, courtesy of a BBC proggie the other day: if I were a biologist, sitting alone at my computer all day, and some gorgeous female walked through the door with no clothing on, would I sit there thinking 'cor, think of what those cells there do' and a whole load of biological stuff, or would I just leave it at "rowwrf!"?
Y'know, we're not beyond appreciating the pretty pictures too. It just helps to know what we're looking at, as well.

Re:high in the sky (1)

PigleT (28894) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632432)

Lesseee, it wasn't on Neighbours.. ;)

Actually, I did say it was an *analogy*.. and it was from Horizon, about 6 years ago.

But otherwise I'd agree. There are no gorgeous females on the BBC... ;(

Re:Rupert! (1)

xnixnix (31045) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632433)

Yeah, since there is no god left to call it after, lets have Douglas Adams, the man who travelled the universe and time the most anyway, give it the name. Rupert sounds nice and just think of all the revenue from having all those books (star atlanten( that is the german plural for atlas - sorry if it isnt the english one) etc.) printed and sold all over .o.

Same way that computer stuff is news for nerds . (1)

squireson (32699) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632436)

Physics Majors are , perhaps , the preimminent nerds of the world .
That is not an insult .

Seriously , Physics amongst other sciences such as computer science and Math are all things that we shoudl take a look at from time to time . They are the points at which mankind is at his finest :
when he is *learning* about the universe that he lives in .

Squireson@bigfoot.com

It came from Dr. Murray! (1)

qqaz (33114) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632437)

"...there is another planet in deep space (that) comes from Dr John Murray."

Was anyone else confused by this line? Of course, I added a word that wasn't really there.

Re:Okay...what does it mean? (1)

voop (33465) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632438)

Well....that's pretty simple: even Nerds go on vacation - and this planet (which we shall call Rupert as suggested in a previous post) sounds like a perfect place :)

Just imagine: far away from any sort of management, marketing and beancounters :) And the challenge of making an interstellar internet protocol that would reach all the way to Rupert (wouldn't be without /. now, would we) is definitely...a challenge :)

No, but seriously. Most nerds happen to like "science stuff" in general - and imho the diversity of stories and postings on /. is what makes it worth reading - and is what makes /. /. - news for NERDS :)

--

Communicating with "Rupert".... (1)

voop (33465) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632439)

Just wondering....I seem to remember, that some of the original "fathers" of IP have been working on a version, suitable for interplanetary communication. Any clues on how far they've gotten on that?

Would be interresting to know - if only to know the possibility of reading /. on "Rupert" (this new planet)....

Another thing - I wonder what would be the MTU of a wireless link from earth to Rupert...? :)

--

Re:Aha!, What racist comment? (1)

segmond (34052) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632440)

What the hell do you mean a racist comment? because he called a dormant star a "brown dwarf"?
Get a grip, I know it is hard being a dwarf and all that, but he wasn't talking about you.

This is not exciting (1)

segmond (34052) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632441)

This is not exciting at all to me, What have we done with the closer planets we found? asdf.
It means nothing if we find 1000000 other planets, because we are not going to do anything with them, at least not in my lifetime...

Speed of our deep space probes? (1)

Dalavon (34753) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632442)

Could this be what is affecting the speed of our deep space probes? (as posted on /. about a week ago) I would like this explanation much more than some of the other stuff I read like rethinking our basic physics.

the 12th planet (1)

z1lch (35931) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632443)

Ancient Sumerian culture have this additional wandering member of our solar system etched into 7000 year old tablets from Eridu -- as were all other recently discovered planetary members up until this century when Pluto? was found.

This is what Zechariah Sitchin [dreamscape.com] introduced into our contemoporary society as Planet X a couple of decades ago. His theory based on ancient Akkadian translations is that the planet orbits the Sun on a different elipse to the remainder of the planets and contrary to current findings passes our earth every 2400 years. Unfortunately we're going to miss out by a couple of hundred years...

These theories and more are fundamental in universal creation myths as humans being the genetic product of a scientific fusion between Nefilim [Planet X locals and hominids].

It's God Jim but not as we know it.

Re:Going backwards? (1)

bdp (41335) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632447)

I agree that the chances of it being in the ecliptic are pretty slim, but it's really the only place we would be likely to find it. The only way this was found was because of it's interaction with other objects. If it wasn't in the ecliptic, it would not have much to interact with.

Za'Ha'Dum (1)

gsaraber (46165) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632449)

I vote to name the planet Za'Ha'Dum :-)

This 10th planet (1)

British (51765) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632452)

Is this 10th planet perhaps named Mondas? (10 points if you get the reference + 20 points if I screwed up the ref and correct me)

Re:Planet X never dies (1)

Zan Thrax (53693) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632457)

I kinda had the impression that was pretty much Lockheed's fault. "Wait a minute, you mean to tell me Lockheed still uses the imperial system? Where the hell did they get there engineering degrees?" As understood it, even the US military uses metric for their systems. Lockheed's making 21st century equipment using 19th century measurements?

Re:Okay...what does it mean? (1)

L! (54780) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632458)

RIGHT! Those the fellows that pee to your mouth during night after you come from pub, swap your bills to coins, make noise inside ones head, steal your notes, borrow your CDs...

Re:Za'Ha'Dum (1)

Rocky (56404) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632459)

Good...

Re:YUGGOTH! (1)

YellowBook (58311) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632460)

I have whirled with the earth at the dawning,
When the sky was a vaporous flame;
I have seen the dark universe yawning
Where the black planets roll without aim,
Where they roll in their horror unheeded, without
knowledge or lustre or name.

--from Nemesis, by H.P. Lovecraft
--
The scalloped tatters of the King in Yellow must cover
Yhtill forever. (R. W. Chambers, the King in Yellow)

Re:Aha! (1)

radja (58949) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632461)

Nah.. if they all put their braincell to use they should be able to find it in a little while..

//rdj

Re:ever heard of the 13th planet. (1)

Machupo (59568) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632462)

hold on a sec... a guy wrote a DISSERTATION on weird alien stuff? dang! where do i sign up! sounds a lot easier than my PhD stuff!

high in the sky (1)

Aigeanta (64880) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632466)

Every so often I've stolen a glance at the night sphere, the celestial blanket of holes with a light outside, the enormous planck maelstrom dance which wraps around like mobius at the turn from infinity to infinitessimal. I've felt the gestalt memory of my time-independent self and ancestors experience the same cool night air and crickets, stretching our awareness out into the realm of the gods, reaching within to find the connection.

And then I read scientific establishment articles, with sterile descriptions of collisions, captures, explosions, all missing the forest for the trees, missing the dance for the step.

Oh well, guess we all have a different experience of reality. I would just refrain from actually believing any of the unintegrated, primitive theories they have thrown at us so far.

Re:Okay...what does it mean? (1)

Aigeanta (64880) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632467)

> Which brings me back to my original point...since when does someone coming up with a new theory about a rock 30 gazillion miles away have ANYTHING at all to do with my fairly diverse nerd life?

Well I happen to be a nerd, and I, for one, am certainly interested in planetary science! In addition, a large organization of space nerds, The Planetary Society [planetary.org] , has a big SETI@Home team and helped get the project funded, so planetary nerds can certainly perticipate in general computer nerd society!

Re:You forget your high school physics (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632468)

> The acceleration of a solar sail drops as inverse cube of your distance from the sun ... and using the sun's gravity well and the solar wind after that to get yourself up to max speed.

Yeah, but I want to know how do you apply the brakes on a solar sail !?

i.e. How much stopping distance do you need? Hey wasn't that pluto back there 10 mins ago?! ;-)

Light-boosted (1)

DanMcS (68838) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632469)

A solar sail, probably laser boosted, could provide constant acceleration with no reaction mass. These have been feasible for a while, but NASA has no money to experiment with them, and there's no profitable reason for others to do it. Constant acceleration would let the trip take a short enough period to retain public interest.

Re:Rupert! (1)

[TaMRieL] (69219) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632470)

Mmm ... I love that book! Except we need parallel dimensions, a trippy bird, Arthur, Ford, Zaphod, and boghogs =)

Re:Minor Planets (1)

puppet10 (84610) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632479)

Read the article, they do give an estimate of the mass. His calcs predict a planet (if you want to call it that) several times the mass of Jupiter, i.e. not a minor planet - the largest planet orbiting the sun.

Sounds like a good use for thermonuclear energy (1)

CaptainProton (90625) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632481)

I suppose the fastest rocket we have is the shuttle that has to reach a speed of 17400 MPH to achieve escape velocity. Using your numbers, we would have to have a rocket 800 times more powerful than the shuttle to reach the planet in thirty five years. I bet one of those designs that Omni magazine published in the early eighties of rockets using multiple atomic engines could do it. It would be pretty bright though.

Gotta get a rocket going right away! (1)

CaptainProton (90625) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632482)

If this is true, it might be worth a Nobel prize. Look what it might mean - If it is the size of earth, it could have an atmosphere. If it is going the wrong way, it may have come from another solar system - think of all what that might mean. It could have a history other than our solar system. What sent it adrift? Is it icy or rocky? Is there volcanic activity? Do objects like this acoount for the missing mass? If it does exist, how large (or huge!) of a rocket would it take to get a space probe there in a few years?

Pioneer 10, Aliens and Wierdness (1)

Spacey845 (92104) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632484)

I memmy a while back, there was a bit of bother over a probe (Pioneer 10?) that was deccelerating far more than it ought to, and was subsequently "knocked off course" by an unknown object or force.

I have three questions:

1) Would any hypothetical interstellar drive do things to space-time that would look like an object of incredible mass?

2) Was that probe heading in a direction anything like "towards" Planet X?

3) Would the super-mass of Planet X have caused the probe to have started to head significantly towards it?

"Conspiracy theories are put about by the Illuminati to deliberately mislead the public"

Re:ever heard of the 13th planet. (1)

miracles (93948) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632485)

cool, i'll have to check it out...
one of the things (among sooo many) i didn't really buy was that these alien guys had a longer lifespan because their planet took so long to revolve around the sun.... it would be the same as saying that living at the north pole would increase your life expectancy because of those periods of a few months of day, then a few months of night. they would technically only live one or two "days" (light then dark then light cycle) a year...

Actually... (1)

Mister Attack (95347) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632488)

Depending on who you talk to, you may be told that even Pluto is not a planet. What's that, you say? Well, surrounding Pluto's orbit is a large belt of similar objects called the Kuiper Belt. Pluto simply happens to be an unusually large object in the Kuiper Belt, and so we noticed Pluto long before we discovered the rest of the belt. Thus, there is some controversy as to whether Pluto is actually a planet at all, or just a large Kuiper belt object. I know this is a little offtopic, but I thought you might find it interesting.

Genesis (1)

GnomeAttic (97126) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632490)

This actually sounds alot like the Genesis theory. A race of advanced humanoids used a special missile to turn the once desolate planet orbitting the sun at 30,000 au into a virtual paradise, making it inhabitable. The evidence is conclusive, we need no further research into the matter.

the 13th floor (1)

GnomeAttic (97126) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632491)

I can't be sure, but this may parrallel this movie that's coming to theaters soon called the 13th floor. its about this virtua- what? you say the 13th floor was already out in theaters and is coming out on video soon? funny, i hardly even noticed.

Re:Planet X never dies (1)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632493)

Yeah, every stealth fighter comes with a slide rule for conversion.

Re:Planet X never dies (1)

Chocky2 (99588) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632495)

Most of them are just big lumps of rock left over from the formation of the solar system - the innermost members of what is known as the Kuiper belt.

check out... http://www.sciam.com/0596issue/0596jewitt.html Callum

Re:LET'S DO THE MATH, without screwing up. (2)

emerson (419) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632498)

Umn, friend, you have an off-by-one error in your orders of magnitude:

>If we attack it a different way, 30,000 times 8 light-minutes is 24,000 light-minutes, or 400 light-hours, or 16.7 light
>days, which is only a bit over 1% of the way to Proxima Centauri, so this does not sound right either; it is hardly "a
>significant fraction of the distance to the nearest star"

Umno. 30,000 times 8 light-minutes is 240,000 light-minutes, 4000 light-hours, 167 light-days, a bit over 10% of the way to PC. A significant fraction.


--

I dub it planet Malda! (2)

Chas (5144) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632501)

Hey Rob. What kind of transfer rates do you think Slashdot would get if we dropped the servers on this planet and strung it to earth with a couple bazillion miles of fiber? (Well. Other than the 208 day lagtime between and receipt, receipt, and then final delivery of the page. that is.......)


Chas - The one, the only.
THANK GOD!!!

Planet X never dies (2)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632503)

I remember hearing about "Planet X" in grade school.

Seriously, though, it's a good bet that this is a brown dwarf (basically a small, dormant star).

And yeah, orbiting the opposite way, it definitely doesn't sound like it was formed in the accretion disk around the Sun.

Hey, but maybe we have something useful to send a probe to now past Pluto. Provided NASA doesn't botch it and mix up metres and yards.

You forget your high school physics (2)

arivanov (12034) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632504)

The acceleration of a solar sail drops as inverse cube of your distance from the sun. It will very fast become comparable to friction from interstellar matter after you pass Pluto (cannot say off the top of my head but this can be calculated).

It may be a feasible way to move things cheap and clean between earth orbit and mercury, venus and mars but that's about it.

If you want to use solar sail your only feasible option for launching something fast past Jup will be to pull the crazy stunt of deccelerating towards the sun with the solar sail and using the sun's gravity well and the solar wind after that to get yourself up to max speed. In either case you are hardly going to get anything very high.

A ion drive seems to be much more feasible (or a combination - start on sail, go towards the sun, use the well to accelerate, accelerate further on sail, dump it and continue on a ion).

This of course assumes that someone will be able to get a working ion drive (in other words a decent proton accelerator in space). It does indeed have constant acceleration until you run out of reactive matter. And all you need is an electrical power supply. F.e. nuclear power generator and a tank of hydrogen to ionize and accelerate.

huh? what? (2)

jetpack (22743) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632509)

the effect is pretty conclusive. I have caculated that there is only about a one in 1,700
chance that it is due to chance.


That doesn't quite scan. I presume he means a one in 1700 chance that it was something other than a rogue planetary body.

Re:Curious... (2)

plunge (27239) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632510)

Much to my dismay, Pluto has kept on as a planet, surving the most recent incarnation of controversy over it's real status. No astronomer worth his weight really thinks classifying Pluto a planet is anything more than convienient for confusable schoolchildren (i don't think that's a serious issue either i think kids could easily grasp and enjoy such a controversy).
Simply stated: there are asteroids out there bigger than it. It's incredibly tiny. It has an unconventional, totally erratic orbit. It's made of ice, unlike any other planet out there, but very much like all the other crap floating around way out there, just inside (outside?) the solar system.

I have some doubt about the claims... (2)

javatips (66293) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632512)

Before reading the article I was saying to myself : "Hey this is cool, another planet in the Solar System!"

After reading it, my mind had some doubt about the claims.

How by studying only 13 comets, could someone arg that he as found a planet wich is several Jupiter masses at such a large distance.

If he studied the path off known comets that already travel through the inner solar system, they certainly did nt travel far enough for their orbit to get significantly, in a observable way, altered bu such a distant object.

For 13 comets to be affected by this distant object, they should all have similar orbits. If one comet as an elongated orbit wich is oposite of this object, it's orbit will not be affected in an observable way.

In the light that Jupiter may have nuclear reaction in it's core (some theory exist about that possibility) an object with several Jupiter masses willl certainly have nuclear reaction in it's core and would emit some kind of radiation. At such a close distance from the Sun, it would certainly have been discovered long ago. We are able to observe brown dwarves at much longer distance.

With a "six million" years orbit, no one can say that it is, in fact, orbiting the Sun (especially for an object that has not been observed).

Finally, such a big object will certainly not be a planet, but some kind of star.

In the shadow of all these doubt, I'll wait for the paper to be presented next week. Then I'll will listen to the comments of other scientist.

Re:I dub it planet Malda! (2)

M. Piedlourd (68092) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632513)

208 days transmission time? That's not much longer than I usually wait for Slashdot to be served right here on Earth!

Re:Planet X never dies (2)

EvilBastard (77954) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632519)

It is urgent that we dispatch a probe to Planet X as soon as possible.

It is, after all, the sole remaining source of the Shaving Cream Atom, Illudium Phosdex.

However, it will take quite a long time to get there. I wouldn't expect it before, oh, the 24 1/2th Century.

ever heard of the 13th planet. (2)

miracles (93948) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632521)

A few years back I read a book written by some sort of ph.d (one of those researchers who has a degree but whose ideas are so far fetched that no one else in his field believes him... every field has one..) that wrote of a planet that orbits our sun, but from very,very far away... the name of the book was "The Thirteenth Planet". It basically described humans being visited by powerful creatures that lived on this 13th planet and cited biblical and other ancient religious tomes pointing to the various instances where "holy" or "sacred" events occurred and tried to prove how these could only be done by these "aliens".. anyway, i digress, i'm not saying this guy is right or even sane, but the 13th planet was so far away that it only came near (relatively) to earth every like 2000 years.... like i said, i'm not one for human origins being tied to aliens (i'm a big evolution buff) but it makes me wonder how closely (if even) this is tied into that guys works or if the "ancients" ever knew about this planet....

great, now i'm going to officially be named a psychopath on /.

Probability? (2)

supine (94843) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632522)

By analysing the orbits of 13 of these comets, Dr Murray has detected the tell-tale signs of a single massive object that deflected all of them into their current orbits. "Although I have only analysed 13 comets in detail," he told BBC News Online, "the effect is pretty conclusive. I have calculated that there is only about a one in 1,700 chance that it is due to chance."

Observing at that distance, what is the resolution of the tools (telescope?) he is using? And of the many calculations to determine trajectory for 13 different comets, what would be the probability for error?

Also, at that distance, the view we would get would appear to be effectively two dimensional with small depths very hard to perceive. Yes/no??
That being the case, how would the they determine the trajectory for a comet that would be three dimensional, without all the info?

But the new planet would be 30,000 times more distant from the Sun than the Earth, putting it a significant fraction of the distance to the nearest star.

What does he mean by significant fraction?
1/*000 ?
1/*000000 ?
1/*000000000 etc.....

Being so far from the Sun - three billion billion miles - it would take almost six million years to orbit it.

That being the case, how can they be sure it is orbiting our Sun?

Hope someone can shed a little light on these for me...

cheers
marty

Why go there??? (2)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632523)

Lets just bring it here...

Re:I dub it planet Malda! (3)

Yarn (75) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632524)

dude, the planets going the opposite direction to us... imagine how tangled the cable's gonna get, and dont mention the boosters... argh.

It scans alright (3)

XNormal (8617) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632525)

As I see it he means that the orbits of the comets he studied, their vectors and timing have only a 1:1700 of having the relationship they have by chance, without a single large body deflecting them (assuming his math is correct, that is)

Not new at all (3)

XNormal (8617) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632526)

The so-called Nemesis [geocities.com] theory is about 14 years old - a large planet with extremely long period deflects comets from the Oort cloud and is responsible for mass extinctions like the dinosaurs which appear to be happening periodically.

The new thing here is that someone has actually calculated a probable orbit.

Re:Probability? (3)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632527)

From what I can gather he was unable to detect it directly. He has inferred the location and approximate mass through studying the alteration of the comets paths. Hence it is speculated to be there. My guess as to how he assumes that it is orbiting the planet is again by mathematical calculations. I assume that the 13 comets studied had known paths as they left the solar system, and altered paths as they returned (well, I guess they did not REALLY leave, but you get the idea)

By calculating how much they were altered and the angle that they were altered by, it is possible to determine the location and mass (to some degree) of the altering influence.

Its like shining a light on an object, you dont ACTUALLY see the object itself (although we believe that we do) you see the light that has been reflected by the object. We cannot see the suspect planet, but we can detect its gravitational influence on the comets themselves.

This all taken in context that his observations and math are correct...

Re:Okay...what does it mean? (3)

Xuff (99173) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632528)

What do you mean what does it mean? It means this massive object orbiting our sun could be the mothership of those blasted aliens that live in our washer/dryers and steal our socks, underwear, and other items of clothing to power their cold fusion engines and provide their replicators with raw material. Think about it, they're probably using their tractor beams to deflect the comets from hitting us so their greatest supplier of raw materials doesn't die out!

Re:orbiting time (3)

Chocky2 (99588) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632529)

Astrophysics stuff...

Kepler's laws say that the square of the period is approximately proportional to the cube of the radius (and using the right units, years and AU) equal. Which makes the orbital period just over 5 million years.

The sun won't expand until it runs out of hydrogen and starts helium burning, even then it probably won't expand beyond the radius of Mars. Pluto will get a bit cooked, but it won't be swallowed up, the Jupiter and maybe Saturn could start to evaporate which would be really cool to watch if we weren't dead. And as the others said this ain't gonna happen for another five or six billion years, and it won't go BANG! though there will be a little pop! as it blows off it's outer layers to make a planetary nebula which will look really pretty if you're a couple of hundred light years away and not dead. Callum (just another astrophysics geek)

Probes not practical (4)

Falsch Freiheit (7780) | more than 14 years ago | (#1632530)

Hey, but maybe we have something useful to send a probe to now past Pluto.

With a distance of almost half a light year, we'd either have to be very patient or come up with a method to send a probe much faster. (And, then, after we've figured that out, we can be about a dozen times as patient and send a probe to the nearest star.)

At the very least, it's far enough away that the fastest way to get there is to spend quite some time coming up with a faster way to send things there. (Orbital rail-gun, anybody?) I mean, seriously -- get something started at about 1800 miles per second (fast enough to get to the sun in 13 hours) and it'd still take you almost 50 years. Take 10 years to come up with something twice as fast and you'd get your probe there 15 years earlier.

In other words, it's a bit distant to be trying to send probes there just yet.
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