Category Archives: Jovians

includes Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune

Planet Nine!

Caltech Researchers Find Evidence of a Real Ninth Planet

This is legit folks!  For those who are at a university (like Vanderbilt), this press release has a link to the actual research article in the Astronomical Journal.  It’s a bit heavy at times but well done.

There’s also a pretty good article on Wired: This Isn’t the First Time Astronomers Have “Found” a Planet Nine

P9_KBO_orbits_labeled-NEWS-WEB

(from the press release) The six most distant known objects in the solar system with orbits exclusively beyond Neptune (magenta) all mysteriously line up in a single direction. Also, when viewed in three dimensions, they tilt nearly identically away from the plane of the solar system. Batygin and Brown show that a planet with 10 times the mass of the earth in a distant eccentric orbit anti-aligned with the other six objects (orange) is required to maintain this configuration.

Saturn’s Titan doesn’t have it’s own magnetosphere!

So whilst finding out some information about Saturn’s orbiter Cassini, I came across this story: Cassini Catches Titan Naked in the Solar Wind.  We’ve been talking a lot about magnetospheres when we discuss the giant worlds so this whole thing is really interesting!

Titan outside of a compressed Saturn magnetosphere

Titan outside of a compressed Saturn magnetosphere. From NASAs Cassini page

The space probe Cassini was going by Titan in 2013 when a big solar storm hit Saturn’s magnetosphere and compressed it.  This left Titan without the protection of that magnetosphere.  According to the newly published data, Titan has no appreciable magnetosphere because particles interacted with its atmosphere just like the particles in the atmospheres of Venus and Mars (no magnetospheres due to not spinning fast enough and solid core, respectively).  The scientists interviewed for the article talk about how this information shows them that computer models developed for closer worlds can still be used for worlds farther away and that’s awesome :)  I love the Universe :)