Colloquium

Colloquium by Konstantin Batygin

Over the course of the past two decades, observational surveys have unveiled the intricate orbital structure of the Kuiper Belt, a field of icy bodies orbiting the Sun beyond Neptune. In addition to a host of readily-predictable orbital behavior, the emerging census of trans-Neptunian objects displays dynamical phenomena that cannot be explained by interactions with the known eight-planet Solar System alone. Specifically, the observed physical clustering of orbits with semi-major axes in excess of ∼ 250 AU, the detachment of perihelia of select Kuiper belt objects from Neptune, as well as the dynamical origin of highly inclined/retrograde long-period orbits remain elusive within the context of the classical view of the Solar System. This newly outlined dynamical architecture of the distant solar system points to the existence of planet with mass M ∼ 10M⊕ on a moderately inclined orbit with semi-major axis a ∼ 400−800 AU and eccentricity e ∼ 0.4−0.6. In this talk, I will review the observational motivation, dynamical constraints, and prospects for detection of this proposed object known as Planet Nine.

Followed by wine and cheese in Pupin 1332.

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