Niku is orbiting somewhere around Neptune.
(Mirror Daily, United States) Scientists are both amazed and confused by this latest discovery: a strange object is orbiting outside our solar system, and, by all odds, it seems to be a small planet. The curious thing about it is that it appears to be orbiting backward, which is not in the direction of the sun.
The small planet has been spotted around Neptune, but outside our solar system. Its’ strange behavior got it the name of Niku, which is the Chinese word for “rebel”. Because its rotation does not follow the one of the Sun, its orbit is retrograde.
Niku is considered to be a small planet because it measures only 200 kilometers in diameter. Scientists think it could be 11 times smaller than the already known dwarf planet Pluto.
The discovery of Niku might as well prove right the speculations that there is a so-called “Planet 9” out of our solar system. Nothing is yet officially released by NASA, as they are still trying to figure out what is happening. The previous studies on “Planet 9” also showed that it could be somewhere around Neptune.
One of the researchers (Michele Bannister, Queen’s University in Belfast) twitted the following post on the discovery:
“I hope everyone has buckled their seatbelts because the outer solar system just got a lot weirder.”
Scientists provide some explanations on why this new planet has a strange way of orbiting. One reason could be that a larger object had hit it, thus printing it with this direction. Another one may be related to yet another object that caused this movement, an object placed somewhere beyond Neptune.
NASA is not assuring people that Niku is a planet, either. There is this possibility, but they need to gather more information in order to be sure of such a massive breakthrough. Their research can also be slowed down by the fact that the new planet is to be found out of our solar system, a space which is more difficult to be studied. There is also less information on what lies beyond our solar system.
Astronomer, Matthew Holman is aware of the great number of possibilities:
“It suggests that there’s more going on in the outer solar system than we’re fully aware of.’
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia