If you can zoom in and see the solar system from a distance, you’ll see that at least one thing in the picture is correct: the planets are more or less arranged in a flat plane, orbiting the sun around the equator.
This is called an eclipse, and is thought to be a remnant of how the solar system was formed – a dusty disk orbiting the sun that slowly merges into planets, asteroids and other rocks.
However, there are some bodies that revolve around the outside of this plane – mainly long-haul comets, in the icy cloud of icy bodies, the farthest reaches of the solar system, with orbits of hundreds to thousands of years.
Now, we will understand their strange orbit. According to new research, some of these long-term comets appear to be arranged in different orbital planes – what its terrorists call an “empty eclipse” rotating 180 degrees with respect to the galactic pole.
The discovery will shed new light on how comets originate in the solar system.
We can’t really observe the full orbit of long-term comets. They are small and obscure, and we do not have the technology to see that they have a certain point, their orbit is much longer than human lifespan. However, when they come close enough to us to discover the sun, we can use their orbits and velocities to predict the entire orbit.
Erica Higuchi, an astronomer at the University of Occupational and Environmental Health, and Japan’s National Astronomical Observer and colleagues have been working on calculating the orbits of long-term comets for some time. In doing so, they noticed something interesting about the issue of orbit away from the sun.
This point is called the aphelian, and it must be very close to the ecliptic eclipse for the body whose orbit originated in that plane. For some long-term comets, that was.
But there was another group of long-term comets, for which the predictions do not indicate an affiliate consistent with the eclipse. But neither their affiliation was randomly distributed; Instead, they seemed to align with each other, otherwise in a non-populated orbital plane.
The galaxy is oriented 60 degrees in terms of the plane. The new, empty receptacle is also 60 degrees oriented from the galactic plane – but in another direction. And that could be a clue as to how the empty eclipse came into being.
Researchers say it could be generated by galactic tides – that is, the galaxy’s own gravitational field. Over time, these inquiries could have drawn many long-term comets. That’s why the team calls the second eclipse ’empty’ – for billions of years, until galactic tides populated it with comets.
This is not an unknown concept; Astronomers have been predicting the impact on the orbital cloud comet through galactic tides for decades.
However, it is an idea that needs more evidence to support, so Higuchi and his team performed analytical calculations to model how galactic tides would affect long-term comets. As she guessed, there were two distinct peaks in the distribution of affiliations – near eclipses and empty eclipses.
That is a very strong piece of evidence, but much work remains to be done to confirm the findings.
“Sharp peaks are not exactly in eclipse or empty eclipse planes, but close to them,” Higuchi said.
“There are going to be many factors involved in investigating the distribution of observed small bodies. A detailed examination of the distribution of long-term comets will be our future task.”
Research has been published in Astronomical Journal.