Astronomers at the Panoramic Survey Telecope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) has found an icy anomaly near Neptune they have named Niku.
Niku is a Chinese word meaning ‘Rebellious’ and it is named quite appropriately. Niku has an orbit that is 110 degrees different from all other orbits and if that isn’t enough, it also orbits in reverse in comparison to the orbital direction of all other remaining objects in our solar system.
THE MYSTERY OBJECT WHICH FOLLOWS A STRANGE ORBIT BEYOND NEPTUNE
Michele Bannister at Queens University tweeted, “I hope everyone has buckled their seat belts because the outer solar system just got a lot weirder.”
It’s easy to theorize that Planet Nine may have something to do with Niku’s odd characteristics. For those of you who are unaware what Planet Nine is, it is a hypothetical ice giant planet between 5-20 times the mass of Earth that may have orbited the sun.
Simply put, this anomaly is as strange as it gets so far in our outer solar system. Apparently though, there are other objects just as rebellious in their orbits as Niku. But what could have caused such an erratic spin in the solar system?
Could a collision between these objects and Planet Nine have happened to cause these objects such as Niku to reverse its orbit? Researchers all conclude that celestial objects do not being orbiting opposite to everything for no reason. There was something that has caused this to happen. But the ‘what’ is what researchers are still working on. Konstantin Batygin, a researcher, says that “Whenever you have some feature that you can’t explain in the outer solar system, it’s immensely exciting because it’s in some sense foreshadowing a new development.”
As far as an ice giant orbiting backwards and almost perpendicular from all other celestial bodies, I certainly hope the researchers at Pan-STARRS can uncover more information that explains Niku and its oddities.
Is Niku an alien probe or spacecraft?