Now scientists at Harvard University say that planet nine could be a primordial black hole. This is the latest attempt to determine whether Planet Nine exists or not. I mean, throughout history, there were so many different attempts to prove or overrule the existence of the 9th planet.
Well, some researchers hypothesize that they could search for Planet Nine using sub-relativistic spacecraft. On the other hand, some suggested that they could be able to detect Planet Nine’s gravitational signal. Even, some scientists proposed that Planet Nine could potentially be a black hole.
Finally, scientists at Harvard University and Blackhole initiative (BHI) have jointly proposed a new hypothesis. In their scientific paper, they proposed that Planet Nine could be a primordial black hole in the outer solar system.
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This highly esteemed paper was recently published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. The paper titled, “Searching for Black Holes in the Outer Solar System with LSST” is co-authored by Dr. Avi Loeb, Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard, and Amir Siraj, a Harvard undergraduate student.
According to their hypothesis, with the help of LSST(Legacy Survey of Space and Time), they could be able to detect or observe accretion flares. “We investigate the accretion flares that would result from impacts of small Oort cloud objects and find that the upcoming LSST observing program will be able to either rule out or confirm Planet 9 as a black hole within a year”, the author writes in the paper.
In their press release, “In the vicinity of a black hole, small bodies that approach it will melt as a result of heating from the background accretion of gas from the interstellar medium onto the black hole,” said Siraj. “Once they melt, the small bodies are subject to tidal disruption by the black hole, followed by accretion from the tidally disrupted body onto the black hole.” Loeb added, “Because black holes are intrinsically dark, the radiation that matter emits on its way to the mouth of the black hole is our only way to illuminate this dark environment.”
Without LSST, they won’t be able to detect accretion flares. Because the current technology is not sensitive enough to do the task. “LSST has a wide field of view, covering the entire sky again and again, and searching for transient flares,” said Loeb. “Other telescopes are good at pointing at a known target but we do not know exactly where to look for Planet Nine. We only know the broad region in which it may reside.” Siraj added, “LSST’s ability to survey the sky twice per week is extremely valuable. In addition, its unprecedented depth will allow for the detection of flares resulting from relatively small impactors, which are more frequent than large ones.”
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So, we can say that all they have to do is wait and watch the detection of accretion flares to prove the existence of the 9th Planet as a primordial black hole.
Here, my curiosity asks, why the author is so specific about the primordial black hole. I mean there are plenty of other types of black holes. Meaning, why planet nine could not be a stellar black hole? Or maybe why planet 9 could not be a supermassive black hole. Simply speaking, why planet nine could only be a primordial black hole?
Well, according to the author’s point of view, the outskirts of solar systems like our backyard. Therefore, in our backyard, we can’t have a stellar black hole or a supermassive black hole. Plus it has also been speculated for so long that primordial black holes as the dark matter could be a perfect candidate for dark matter.
According to the big bang theory, primordial black holes would have been made just after the few minutes of the big bang. Therefore, they are regarded as the perfect candidate for the existence of dark matter.
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As the author writes in the paper, “We also find that LSST could rule out or confirm the existence of trapped planet mass black holes out to the edge of the Oort cloud, indirectly probing the dark matter fraction in subsolar mass black holes and potentially improving upon current limits by orders of magnitude”.
In the view of Amir Siraj, a Harvard undergraduate student,
“there is a possibility that Planet Nine could be a grapefruit-sized black hole with a mass of five to ten times that of the Earth”
Well, if you will ask my view, neither a single primordial black hole nor the 9th planet has ever been observed or detected to date. Plus there is not a single detection of dark matter that has been made to date.
So, in my view, maybe with the help of these three (dark matter, primordial black hole, planet nine), we could be able to solve some of the unknown mysteries of our universe. Or maybe we won’t.
What do you think? With the help of LSST, can Harvard scientists prove that planet nine could be a primordial black hole? If there is any suggestion, I am all ears. Feel free to enlighten me with your thoughtfulness.
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