Scientists have spotted a mystery object following a strange path moving from the outer reaches of the solar system towards earth.
The object known as L91 has an extreme orbit and takes 20,000 years to travel around our sun.
The icy extraterrestrial body, which was supposed to have become dislodged from its orbit by now is gradually changing its trajectory and moving towards the sun from within the Oort cloud into the Kuiper belt, something that has never been seen before.
Researchers believe that L91’s trajectory is influenced by another mysterious body lurking in the outer reaches of the solar system, the unknown giant Planet Nine, aka Planet X.
Ancient Code reports:
It is one of the most extreme objects ever discovered, orbiting the sun beyond the influence of Neptune’s gravity, the most distant planet in our solar system.
Researchers are currently debating the anomalous orbit of the object trying to come up with plausible theories.
“Every time we find another one of these objects, it adds another piece to the puzzle,” says Meg Schwamb, a planetary scientist at the Gemini Observatory in Hilo, Hawaii.
L91 was officially detected in September 2013 L91 by the Outer Solar System Origins Survey and the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope.
Researchers carried out a detailed study of a small portion of the sky, in order to catalog and describe the objects that make up the Kuiper belt.
According to a report from Nature, the elliptical orbit of 91 does not allow it to approach the Earth more than 50 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun.
At its farthest point, the object is located 1,450 AU away from us. That means that its orbit is extreme, and is situated farther from the Sun than world’s like Sedna and 2012 VP113.
Michele Bannister, an astronomer at Queen’s University Belfast, UK said that the location and trajectory of the enigmatic object are what make it so ‘fascinating’.
Nathan Kaib, an astronomer at the University of Oklahoma in Norman said: “This one is right on the hairy edge of everything.”
While some researchers argue that the object –whose official size and mass are still unknown— may have been banished some 2,000 Astronomical Units from the Sun by gravitational interactions with Neptune in the distant past, Konstantin Batygin, from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena argues that an unseen planet –like Planet Nine, aka Planet X— may have altered the orbit of L91.