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Our Sun May Have Stolen Planetary Objects from Another Star, New Study Suggest

After Sedna's discovery in 2003, it was the outermost body ever observed in our planetary club. Its odd path, it never comes near the massive planets, proposed an equally strange history. How did Sedna get in its current position? According to recent computer simulations the sun may have snatched Sedna away from some other star. A hint to Sedna's past originated in 2012, when astronomers discovered a second and even smaller object with a equally extended and remote orbit. Astronomers Simon Portegies, Lucie Jílková and Zwart of Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands and their coworkers decided to examine whether interstellar robbery could yield the orbits of both Sedna and its sidekick, 2012 VP113.

According to them it is possible. Furthermore, the scientists recreated the crime scene and even the possible properties of the victim star, which they called “Star Q.” In work sent to Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the scientists say Star Q was initially about 80 percent more massive than the sun. It passed nearly 34 billion kilometers of us, just 7.5 times larger than the distance from the sun to Neptune. This proximity means the star is present in the same stellar group as the sun. Though Star Q still exists, its strongest light possibly burned out long ago because of its greater mass. As a vague white dwarf, it will be tough to find.

According to astronomer Scott Kenyon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics the new study creates a “quite convincing case” that Sedna could be taken. But the guy who discovered sedan, Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology, says that the object most likely is native to our solar system and got pulled outward by the gravitational tug of the sun's siblings—a simpler consequence.

This particular topic may stay unsettled until more objects with strange orbits are found in the outer extents of our solar system. If the sun stole these objects from Star Q, they should all come nearby to Earth on the similar side of the sun. But if their orbits change, the sun maybe is innocent of theft.

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