Unlike other objects in our solar system, this one circles our Sun in a retrograde or backward orbit and does so on a plane that’s tilted 110 degrees to the plane of the solar system. In other words, it is strange as it gets.
The object could be a planet sized spaceship.
There is a strange object located beyond the orbit of Neptune which has researchers incredibly confused. It’s strange orbit, and rebel behaviour has alerted specialists which are still unable to explain what the object is.
“I hope everyone has buckled their seatbelts because the outer solar system just got a lot weirder,” said Michele Bannister, an astronomer at Queens University, Belfast via twitter.
New Scientist explains that among its oddities, researchers stress that the mystery object moves upward, about 110 degrees relative to the plane of the solar system. In addition to that, the object is believed to swing back around the sun, unlike most bodies of our solar system.
Interestingly, the object is located some 160,000 further away than Neptune, and every time it passes through our solar system it moves further upwards. As researchers explain, one of the main characteristics of the planetary system is that it orbits in a flat plane, so to understand how rebellious this new object is, we just enough to look at its inclination of 110 degrees.
Experts have nicknamed the object ‘Niku’, after the Chinese adjective for rebellious.
In other words, objects in our solar system that do not orbit within our planetary systems plane, or orbit in the opposite direction as all other bodies in the solar system must have been ‘knocked off course’ by something else.
Matthew Holman at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and one of the researchers who helped find Niku said:
“It suggests that there is more going on in the outer parts of the solar system than what we are fully aware of.”
And because of its many mysteries, the unknown excites astronomers.
“Whenever there is a feature that you are not able to explain in the outer solar system, it is immensely exciting because it is some sense foreshadowing a new development,” said Konstantin Batygin at the California Institute of Technology, one of the main researchers who proposed the existence of a massive planet, ten times the mass of Earth, orbiting our sun beyond the orbit of Pluto.
Researchers believe that the newly discovered object is part of a group of objects orbiting in a highly inclined plane, which experts tested if the new object could be influenced by the gravitational pull of alleged planet nine.
However, experts concluded that ‘Niku’ is located far too close to our solar system to be within the alleged world’s sphere of influence, which is why the object is considered as excitingly strange, and which is why researchers need to look for another explanation that satisfies their criteria.