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Puzzling ‘Planet Nine’ May Be a Grapefruit-Sized Black Hole – Nerdist

Scientists at Harvard say that our solar system’s mysterious “Planet Nine” may actually be a grapefruit-sized “primordial” black hole.

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Scientists at Harvard University and the Black Hole Initiative (BHI) have developed a new method for detecting black holes, which may end up pegging our solar system’s “Planet Nine” as one of the light-swallowing monsters. The scientists also say that if the mysterious planet is determined to be a black hole, it’s most likely a “primordial” one that’s only the size of a grapefruit.
M. Weiss 
The new method for identifying black holes is outlined in a paper that’s been recently accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The authors of the paper, Dr. Avi Loeb, a Professor of Science at Harvard, and Amir Siraj, a Harvard undergraduate student, say that the method works by identifying flares that result from small astronomical objects being intercepted by black holes.
“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,” Siraj said in a Harvard press release that comes via Gizmodo. He added that “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.”
In other words, Loeb and Siraj’s method works by detecting electromagnetic radiation that results from astronomical objects, such as comets, being annihilated by the super-hot gas surrounding a black hole. The tidal disruption of the bodies Siraj is referring to is an astronomical phenomenon whereby black holes rip apart astronomical bodies with their tidal force. That is, a gravitational force that stretches a body towards and away from the center of mass of another body.
Planet Nine will be the first “prime candidate” that will be observed utilizing the new method at the upcoming Legacy Survey of Space and Time at the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in northern Chile. For those unfamiliar, Planet Nine is a hypothetical planet that has been theorized as a way to explain the odd orbital dynamics of bodies that orbit around the Sun out beyond Neptune. Researchers from Caltech who “discovered” Planet Nine using mathematical models and computer simulations describe the mysterious body in the video below.
If it turns out that Planet Nine actually is a black hole, it would indeed be a relatively small one. In fact, if Planet Nine is a black hole, it is likely a “primordial” one that formed soon after the Big Bang. These theorized black holes are not the result of stellar collapse, but rather the gravitational collapse of high densities of matter in the early universe. Black holes developed in this way could haveif they’re realas little as a few times the mass of Earth.
Looking forward, Loeb and Siraj say that they should be able to determine whether or not Planet Nine is a black hole within a year. “If the existence of Planet Nine is confirmed through a direct electromagnetic search, it will be the first detection of a new planet in the solar system in two centuries, not counting Pluto,” Siraj said in the Harvard press release. Confirmation of Planet Nine being a black hole may also help to set limits on the amount of dark matter contained in the early universe’s lightless mega monsters.
Caltech
What do you think about the possibility of Planet Nine actually being a grapefruit-sized black hole? Are you ready to jump on the black hole bandwagon, or are you still thinking Planet Nine is a planet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Feature image: M. Weiss

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Dwarf planet Ceres is an ocean world: Study – The Jakarta Post – Jakarta Post

The dwarf planet Ceres — long believed to be a barren space rock — is an ocean world with reservoirs of sea water beneath its surface, the results of a major exploration mission showed Monday.

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The dwarf planet Ceres — long believed to be a barren space rock — is an ocean world with reservoirs of sea water beneath its surface, the results of a major exploration mission showed Monday.
Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and has its own gravity, enabling the NASA Dawn spacecraft to capture high-resolution images of its surface. 
Now a team of scientists from the United States and Europe have analysed images relayed from the orbiter, captured arou…

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The earth was once home to ‘terror crocodiles’ nearly the size of city buses – CNN

A new study has shed more light on gigantic “terror crocodiles,” that once roamed the world and preyed on dinosaurs with teeth “the size of bananas.”

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(CNN)A new study has shed more light on gigantic “terror crocodiles,” that once roamed the world and preyed on dinosaurs with teeth “the size of bananas.”
The research, which was conducted in 2018, published this week in Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. It found that the Deinosuchus — a lineage of giant Late Cretacecous crocodylians from North America — were nearly as long as city buses, growing up to 33 feet in length, according to the study authors.
“Deinosuchus was a giant that must h…

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Some Humans Are Carrying DNA From an Unknown Ancient Ancestor – ScienceAlert

A new analysis of the genomes of the most famous of ancient humans – Neanderthals and Denisovans – has revealed an as-yet-unidentified ancestor for our species – a branch of our distant family tree without any known label to put to it.

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A new analysis of the genomes of the most famous of ancient humans – Neanderthals and Denisovans – has revealed an as-yet-unidentified ancestor for our species a branch of our distant family tree without any known label to put to it.
The study also finds further evidence of interbreeding between humans and Neanderthals, but places it much earlier than we previously knew – some 200,000 to 300,000 years ago. This interbreeding would therefore add new insight into the increasingly complicated hist…

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