Planet Nine's Orbit in Space
The manipulable 3D figure below is supplementary material to the paper
Constraints on Planet Nine's Orbit and Sky Position within a Framework of Mean Motion Resonances. Millholland, S. & Laughlin, G. arXiv:1612.07774
It uses X3DOM and should work on recent versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. You may also download a local copy from my GitHub page. To rotate the figure, use the left mouse button. To zoom in and out, scroll with the mouse hovering over the figure. Refresh the page to return to the default view.
The 3D figure shows the orbits of the distant Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) and our proposed orbit of Planet Nine. The highly eccentric orbits in white are the orbits of all known KBOs with semi-major axes greater than 250 AU and perihelion distances greater than 30 AU. White dots are placed at the objects’ current positions on their orbits. The colored orbit is our fiducial model of Planet Nine’s orbit with semi-major axis, a = 654 AU, eccentricity, e = 0.45, inclination, i = 30°, argument of perihelion, ω = 150°, longitude of ascending node, Ω = 50°, and mean anomaly, M = 180° (see note below). The points along the orbit are colored according to distance and are evenly spaced in time. The distances and RA/declination coordinates of five locations along the orbit have been labeled with tick marks and an ellipse surrounding the Planet Nine orbit.
Note: As shown in Millholland & Laughlin (2016), a variety of Planet Nine orbits relative to this fiducial model are possible, and no orbit with round-numbered orbital elements is expected to be the perfect solution. When the fiducial model is integrated for 4 billion years with cloned copies of the KBOs that are consistent with observed uncertainties, the majority of the bodies maintain orbital stability and low inclinations relative to the ecliptic. Many of the bodies also maintain apsidal clustering. In general, the results are better than the outcomes of similar Planet Nine orbits. However, we are not asserting that this is the only solution consistent with the data.