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    #1749966 - 07/26/03 02:40 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)


I know this article is old but what do you guys think about this? Astronomers have detected a huge planet or small star way beyond the Kuiper Belt, orbiting our sun. The article mentions the possibility of this being the suspected brown dwarf companion star from the Nemesis Theory, but a physicist from the University of Louisiana who is leading a team researching this phenomenon was interviewed and just shrugs this off. I have a funny feeling about this, especially concerning the theory that comets from the Oort Cloud are flung toward Earth every 3600 years. Gee I wonder what would cause such a thing?

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Re: Nemesis [Re: ]
    #1750266 - 07/26/03 08:39 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Actually, the article mentions that 2 independent groups have hypothesized that there might be a large object 25000-36000 AU out there. No such object has been discovered (it would be huge news if one was).

Brian Marsden is mentioned in the article, and he expressed skepticism. There probably aren't ten people in the world who know more about that sort of thing than he does. If I hear him or Daniel Green (the other guy who does the orbit stuff at USNO) saying they think there's something there, then I'll pay a lot more attention.

As far as the Nemesis bit, the article mentions that the guy who shrugs off the idea that this would be Nemesis also happens to be one of the guys who published the original paper proposing Nemesis. If the guys who wrote the original paper don't think so, then I'm inclined to go with their opinion.

The 3600 year figure isn't mentioned in the article - where did you get it from? A quick calculation shows that an object with a 3600 year orbit has a mean distance from the sun of about 235 AU. Something the size of Jupiter or larger at that distance would be tough to hide. They would emit a great deal of IR radiation, and would be a pretty conspicuous object. 20 years ago IR astronomy was just about to start, and required a satellite. Now there are several ground based observatories doing IR astronomy (on high mountaintops).

The periodicity mentioned in the article is 35,000,000 years, and the researcher quoted seems to suspect that it's due to the Sun's orbital motion about the Galaxy, something we know relatively little about.

Overall, the fact that the article is 4 years old and basically obscure suggests strongly that these theories haven't gained much acceptance.

Happy mushrooming!

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