Primordial Orbital Alignment of Sednoids
Session 7.02 Dynamics
Wednesday 06-26 | 10:30 - 10:50

We examined the past history of the three most detached TransNeptunian Objects (TNOs) – Sedna, 2012%nbsp;VP113, and Leleakuhonua (2015 TG387) – the three clearest members of the dynamical class known as sednoids, with high perihelia distances q. By integrating backward their nominal (and a set of cloned) orbits for the Solar System's age, we surprisingly find that the only time all their apsidal lines tightly cluster was 4.5 Gyr ago, at perihelion longitude π of 200. This “primordial alignment” is independent of the observational biases that contribute to the current on-sky clustering in the large-semimajor axis Kuiper Belt. If future TNO surveys (e.g., CLASSY, DEEP, LSST) confirm these findings, this strongly argues for an initial event during the planet formation epoch which imprinted this particular apsidal orientation on the early detached TNO population. Their apsidal orientations were then subsequently modified only by the simple precession from the 4 giant planets (and weakly by the galactic tide). If other sednoids also cluster around the same primordial value, various models suggesting a still present planet in the outer Solar System would be incompatible with this alignment. We inspected two scenarios that could potentially explain the primordial alignment. First, a rogue planet model (where another massive planet raises perihelia near its own longitude until ejection) naturally produces this signature. Alternatively, a close stellar passage early in Solar System history raises perihelia, but it is poor at creating strong apsidal clustering. We show that all other known 35<q<55 au TNOs are either too perturbed or orbits are still too uncertain to provide evidence for or against this paradigm.

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