Is Planet 9 a visiting stranger?

Credit: CALTECH/R. HURT (IPAC)

We investigate the prospects for the capture of the proposed Planet 9 from other stars in the Sun’s birth cluster. Any capture scenario must satisfy three conditions: the encounter must be more distant than ∼150 au to avoid perturbing the Kuiper belt; the other star must have a wide-orbit planet (a ≳ 100 au); the planet must be captured on to an appropriate orbit to sculpt the orbital distribution of wide-orbit Solar system bodies. Here we use N-body simulations to show that these criteria may be simultaneously satisfied. In a few per cent of slow close encounters in a cluster, bodies are captured on to heliocentric, Planet 9-like orbits. … (RAS)

Credit: CALTECH/R. HURT (IPAC)

Credit: CALTECH/R. HURT (IPAC)

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