Astronomy Topic: Planet 9?

Planet 9: A Theory

Howdy again Blog.

Today we are going to be discussing a theory that explains the unusual orbits of a dozen or so Kuiper Belt Objects (also called Trans-Neptunian Objects).

When I was growing up, there WERE 9 planets, the 9th being Pluto (at that point, it was a smudge). In my lifetime, however, the advancement of telescopes has allowed for many other objects in Pluto’s neighborhood to be discovered (including one larger then Pluto). Astronomers would then come to classify Pluto as a Dwarf Planet, and a part of the Kuiper Belt (a large area filled with icy bodies in distant orbits towards the outskirts of the solar system).

This all seemed well and good for a decade or more, until a whole bunch of KBOs had been identified, and their individual orbits started to be mapped and computed. Advanced software would then make lengthy computations to model the orbits of the objects in the solar system in an effort to study their development and interactivity. That practice of modeling, in and of itself, has been going on for a long time, but the greater the number of actual objects observed, the more “accurate” the simulation becomes.

Albeit, given we don’t understand every little thing about gravity, and interactivity… but we DO get quite a bit of it. We now make space probe flight patterns of exploiting the gravity of nearby planets to increase acceleration at a fuel-expense minimum (gravity-assist). It can be said we understand the mechanics of that sort of gravity interacting fairly well, which leads us to the next point of this progression.

With that in mind, the Astronomers who observed the Kuiper Belt Objects found a few of them that had atypical orbits in contrast to the vast majority of the others. Their orbits all had some common elements though, they were elongated in a similar direction, and had corresponding axial tilts which had clearly been subject to significant gravitational forces at some point. Computers are pretty fucking handy it turns out, and after punching all these orbits into the simulation they asked the computer what could have caused these objects to have the orbits they do.

Initially, I was personally of a mind that it could have been possible that a rogue star had passed through the area nearby our solar system, and the gravity disturbance caused the orbits to be the way they are… but that was also disprove quickly because of the fact that there is no star nearby enough to be a culprit for such a crime. Also, the timeline was wrong, as the orbits of the KBOs had not been perturbed all at once. The passing star theory dies there, as it could not explain several additional observed orbital features, and the axial tilt of these objects.

The computer chewed on the data, but gave the Scientists an answer they were not at all expecting. Something large was luring in the deep dark of the outer solar system, and it’s gravity was tugging objects out of their natural orbits in the Kuiper Belt. Not only that, the computer also predicted that this big object would have created an additional set of disturbances in the orbits of other KBOs whose orbits would be perpendicular to the plain of the others, and also elongated.

When the complete data set for all known objects in the Kuiper Belt was combined with the existing model, there were 3 objects that fell into the perpendicular orbits predicted by the simulation. The computer had known these objects were there and why before the scientists did. The data pointed, convincingly, to a big planet somewhere out there. But where?

The software projected that Planet 9 would have an orbit with a perihelion of 200 Astronomical Units and an aphelion of 1,200 AU. Those distances are truly insane, considering our farthest planet, Neptune, is 30 AU away at its longest point (aphelion). Oh, 1 AU is a little over 9 million miles.

Right now, a sky survey done from a space telescope a few years ago did not reveal planet 9 anywhere nearby, which might mean that it’s nearing the distant end of its orbital path (considering it takes a projected 20,000 years to complete 1 orbit of the sun). If it is out there, it is going to be difficult to spot. Another question asked by the scientists was: how big was this thing? Alarmingly, they found the object was AT LEAST 10 times the mass of our planet Earth. So, big. There is a type of planet that scientists have observed in extraterrestrial solar systems, called Super Earths, which are extraordinarily large rocky planets of equivalent mass to the suspected Planet 9.

Theorizing about what sort of planet it might be has, in and of itself, a distinct fork in the logic for existence and formation.

Formation Theory 0: Natural Orbit

The first though was: oh well it must have just formed out there, and we’ll update our models to compensate for that. However, this neglected the severe tilt to the solar plain, as well as the fact that there is not enough material in the outer reaches of the solar system to form a 10 Earth mass planet. This logic train stopped right here, and was abandoned.

Formation Theory 1: Rogue Planet

Since the object has such a severely elliptical orbit, and a 30 degree tilt to the plane of the solar system, there is a possibility the world we now call Planet 9 was a rogue planet. It may have been thrown free of its original parent star eons ago, and was just fortunate enough to pass close enough to the sun to be captured in its current bizarre orbit. There are models that grapple with this possibility, but nothing conclusive.

Formation Theory 2: Flung Giant

If our current model for the size of the accretion disk and the overall substance of the gas cloud that our star formed in is wrong, then maybe there are some processes at work that we do not understand. In extrasolar planetary systems, sometimes large Gas Giants are very close to their stars, in a likely consumption of the inner planets as gravity drew it closer and close as the millennia went by. Possibly?

Now we think about our own solar neighborhood… was its past more violent than we have previously theorized? Astronomers continue to work models that show Planet 9 may have developed as a Gas Giant, and been flung out of the solar system but still captured by the fringes of the sun’s influence. While the variables remain largely unknown, the Gas Giant theory lines up with where something of that mass would have needed to have formed.

Is Planet 9 a mysterious Super Earth caught by the sun’s influence from the emptiness of interstellar space, or a once proud Gas Giant, cast out by gravitational disturbances in the solar system’s formation, exiled to the icy reaches?

Conclusion: The Search

With all the observed evidence and modeling, there is a sense of certainty that Planet 9 is out there, waiting to be found. Now, a “gold rush” of sorts is taking place to scan the furthest reaches of the mysterious planet’s possible orbital path, to try to render the object in photograph and finally verify its existence. Dozens of astronomers are engaged in the search, but the area they need to cover is immense, and the magnitude of Planet 9 is quite dim given how far away it is thought to be.

Now, our society is on the cusp of re-defining how we understand our solar system, and paint a picture of where we might be headed. Albeit, geologic and astronomic time are quite different from human perception, the machinery of the universe runs on math, and it is always calculating the next interaction. There is so much we have yet to fully comprehend, even in the most basic of levels. Our understanding is based on the delicate architecture of guessing, and Planet 9 brings a lot of our theories into collision with reality. Will the planet projected by a computer really be there? Time is the fact that will determine what is out there, if not a planet, than something else very large…

Image credits: Wikipedia

The Truth

Well Blog, the truth is I’m probably not perfect. Far from it in fact. I don’t attest to be flawless, more like acutely flawed but pushing forward regardless with good intent.

I am willing to have a dialogue with anyone about anything. I’m not set in some version of reality that has to be mine. On the contrary, I have much still to learn, and remain humble in my core (despite occasional excitability).

I feel fully responsible. I have been. I have regret that pushes me forward so I can do good in the world. I want to make myself into something better than who I have been.

The only thing left is to march onward, despite pain and trauma. I hold nothing worth carrying a great distance. It is what it is, and frankly, I’m only doing a pretty good job taking steps forward.

Humble to fate, I await whatever fortune deals me. Projecting no outcome, I endeavor to do positive things for those less fortunate.

Shame can be a source for change, and I am an example of that.

 

___

 

Don’t get me wrong about the gravity of my past. It is huge, strong and a constant reminder of why I live the life I have now. I’m no model of perfection, as I view such a thing unattainable. The only structure to progress is to learn, adapt, and try again. I have taken my life a direction I am proud of, and that is something undeniably real.

I know the past is full of pain, and I’m very real about that. It is not a shame I deny, but once I have gained a great deal from. If not for my past, I could not have become who I am, which makes me thankful for that pain and the lessons it taught me. The choice to move beyond is just that, a choice, and it is one I make over and over again as the days advance. There is no arguing that the decision to fight is difficult every morning when I get up, but I do, and I still try, because I want to be proud of myself. I am not now a quitter, and I do not want to be remembered as one. If I am to be remembered beyond the time that I die, I would like people to remember how I helped my community, and shown a light onto minorities suffering with mental illness.

I need to earn the right to be here in the world, every day, and to never forget who I was.

Shaboopie!

Score: +3

Hi again Bloggyfriend.

I have been erratic mood-wise lately, but not inactive. I did very good to keep taking my medications and exercising, which helps maintain an energy baseline. This is preventative, in case short-term lulls become something more pronounced.

Today helped buoy me farther ahead in my goals for mental health community awareness, as well as providing meaningful assistance to NAMI. I met with a member of the board of directors and we started covering ways I could provide research for a grant we want to apply for as well as the document sections for the application. The one we are looking at is for 100,000 dollars and divided into 10 sub-groups county wide. In my capacity, I’ll be researching program statistics and compiling text for the grant submittal. I have rarely been more impactful in all my life, but I am still the supplicant learning and absorbing knowledge from all the amazing individuals I have met so far.

This also gets me thinking about my self-worth as I head down the road. I feel significant, but not appealing in any fundamental way. There are still holes in my armor that I work to mend, and the fiery crucible of time should assist in that process. In spite of that, I have that fundamental absence that I still struggle to comprehend. Maybe this outer-person will achieve a great deal in the world, but he would be unknown, unresolved and unwanted in a very personal way. There seems to be no escaping that, and I don’t much like the prospect of deviation.

Now, that last sentence may have been contradictory to a huge heaving pile of desire, but the truth of the comparison is relevant. The self I wear to survive in the world is different than the self I am when I am in my jams. I work my ass off, and play my ass off too. I have met some people who like to work hard, and others that all they want to do is play hard, but never both. The ideal would be to find a similarly motivated go-getter with a pension for cutting loose.

Such a person (along with all the other unreasonable measures of acceptance) does not exist. I accept that my moon girl will never be there the way I thought she might be. I don’t know why I had such silly dreams, but the shattered remains have all been swept away, and we don’t buy vases and pottery anymore.

No one likes to hear about how frustratingly lonely it is. It’s consistently not interesting to you. However, this is my Blog and my putrid vocabulary waste dump site for all time and I’ll barf on top of big piles of stale vomit for as long as it suits me. I moan and writhe in the mud of my own suffering as is mandated by the gods.

Sometimes shining the light on a thing is just what it needed to be recognized. I shine that light a lot, so I don’t build up big basements full of pickled shit log thoughts. Nothing about that’s storage of things is good, especially when the basement is full.

I’m a grant researcher and writer. That’s pretty cool. I’m a paid employee of NAMI Sacramento, which is also very neat. I have dome real plus shit in the yes column. No disregarding that.

Will there be?

No. It’s too late.

Zzzzzzzzzttt

Zuuurm

Zzzttt

-{===|]

Lost Day

Score: +2

Hi there.

Never really got going today. I did my steps but I’m not feeling the enthusiasm. 20k two days in a row does take a toll.

This is temporary. I guess I’m feeling a little sad and lonely, which is not at all abnormal. I did just formally end all contact or intention in that department. No appreciation was coming from that place anyway.

Today never felt right. Even as I ready myself for bed, I still don’t feel good. I’m sneezing a fucking ton which I don’t like.

Tomorrow brings new opportunities. Maybe even a chance to take a profound step towards change.

Reset. Reboot.

Well, I’m still feeling bad. Where can I put all these thoughts? Why am I the only one who forgives? It just blows my mind that resentment could be so appealing a salve. I clearly know nothing about women. Ever.

Here I am complaining. Uselessly. Resolving nothing. Vomiting my empty soul into the ether of disinterest. No one who should care, does. All that was is gone, never to be had again.

Amendment

In reference to last post:

After some consideration, it seemed uncalled for that I disconnect from the afore mentioned ex without at least clarifying specifically that I would be doing so. I sent a message indicating no hard feelings, but an end to an impossibly frustrating dynamic. I am moving away from the past and towards the future. Period. There is such promise, hope and potential in the days ahead. I am resolved not to spend any more time regressing, rehashing and ultimately, retraumatizing.

I don’t care how the message is received. I have extended the necessary information to not be overtly rude, while still desiring an end to any more communications. I deleted the app and will not check it again. I am resolved, but not intentionally callous or derogatory.

The faded relics of the past do not have the potency or relevance to shape the future of progress or eventual companionship. All lessons absorbed, the future is no longer imperiled by the luggage of the dead.

Smells

Score: +3

Today was not as labor-intensive as yesterday, but very invigorating. Also, tiring. Hence, the smells.

I am making progress becoming involved and relevant with NAMI. I keep promoting myself usefully and being consistently present / helpful. That seems like it has upward potential.

I also successfully resisted temptation to communicate with an ex. I just have come to realize the past has nothing left in it for me. No future path comes from there, and nothing of benefit remains. I am done, disconnected, and moving forward despite the ongoing temptation to look back. 100% purged.

That was a hard choice considering the ache of solitude, but regurgitating toxic relationships is simply never good, and no longer worth retching over.

Progress is pointed towards the future, and active involvement in life requires awareness of the goals to be achieved. No future goal is met by dwelling in lost memories unchanging.

I am pleased with my trajectory thus far. I see a lot of good to come, but I won’t get there if I don’t work my ass off.

Highly Useful

Score: +3.5

That score might have been higher but my physical exhaustion is peaking. I had a solid 4 hours of packing and labeling today, and more tomorrow. I’m quite familiar with moving and I know the steps that need to be taken. The labor is the only obstacle.

Lots of connections are being made with relevant individuals, forwarding my career. I am more established and essential than ever before, and solidifying my status as a relevant individual in my local mental health community

Blog, right now, as I feel quite stated and exhausted, I have a sense of meaning that is hard to explain. I have an integral part to play in my community, city, county that I have yet to fully comprehend. I take steps forward, every day, to try and make a difference. This world is not right, and from whatever aspect of it that I can, I will try to change it.

I have been on and on about this. If anything, it’s evidence that I’m serious. I really do want to affect change, and I’m learning the things I’ll need to do to accomplish that. A lot of what I have left to give will be outwardly projected towards provoking action.

Tomorrow is another day of earning my worth. I demonstrate my dedication by continuing to be there, be present and helpful for an organization I believe in. One that has previously helped me immensely. I know we can bring something better to this county, and I’m determined to try.

I do, however, feel more alone than ever before. No one understands me. No one cares to know why. No one desires to know. The lack of personal interest may only be a temporary thing, subject to change. That concept is key, since I am a motivating force to help deviate from am unsuccessful norm to a productive alternative.

I wish.

There is nothing left for that. Those dreams are gone.

Time might be running out. Just do as much as can be done, and know in your heart, you did what was right. Die with honor.