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In the artist's visualization, the newly discovered planet-like object, dubbed "Sedna," is shown where it resides at the outer edges of the known solar system. The object is so far away that the Sun appears as an extremely bright star instead of the large, warm disc observed from Earth. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech)

Some objects at the edge of our solar system move in mysterious ways.

Their behavior is strange enough that a theory has arisen, in recent years, that a dark and massive Planet Nine, impossibly far off at the fringes past Neptune, is hulking off in the darkness.

A new theory presented at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society contends that the detached objects interact like bumper cars, creating the strange movements that appear to defy what we can see in the solar system so far.

“You see a pileup of the orbits of smaller objects to one side of the sun,” Jacob Fleisig, an undergraduate astrophysics major at University of Colorado at Boulder and lead author, said. “These orbits crash into the bigger body, and what happens is those interactions will change its orbit from an oval shape to a more circular shape.”

It’s their collective gravity acting in concert that solves many of the puzzles posed thus far, Ann-Marie Madigan, a C.U. Boulder assistant professor and also author of the study, said.

The detached objects include Sedna, a minor planet 8 billion miles out from the sun, the scientists said.

Their observations indicate that Sedna moves slower, and being more massive, as opposed to smaller objects such as asteroids.

According to the abstract of the presentation, the collective term for the large population of icy objects is the Scattered Disk, scattered outward after their creation by the actions of Neptune.

Their observations indicate that there are a huge number of Trans-Neptunian Objects do not conform to the dynamics of scattering by Neptune, the scientists found.

The natural process is that massive minor planets are naturally detached by the interaction of different gravities from the objects.

“This mechanism could have notable consequences for the outer Solar System, and may shed some light on the origin of the detached population of minor planets near the Scattered Disk,” the scientists said.

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