First there was the Pioneer anomaly and then came the Flyby anomaly. Are they related? And now I’m reading the history of Planet X. Mike Brown, the astronomer whose discovery of Eris led to the demotion of Pluto, has a blog post entitled: Planet X uncovered (again?). As I was reading it, I had a thought is it possible the observed anomalies of Kuiper belt objects related?
My ignorance of orbital mechanics, Newtonian and Einsteinian physics is pretty profound, so my speculation here is very crude and there may be no connection with any of these. Astronomers can measure changes in velocity pretty accurately and compare them against what theory predicts. The problem is there are very very tiny differences between what is predicted and what was measured. The scientists don’t know if there are errors in their calculations or measurements or more importantly maybe there is some new physics at work.
They’ve repeated these calculations and measurements enough to go “hmm… there may be something else here.” If none of these anomalies are related and they are real, that would imply three new area of physics. If they are related then that would certainly simplify things and add more evidence to that ‘hmmm…’ thing.
I have one more question. Dark matter is still a major mystery but astronomers can detect it’s effects on a macro scale (galactic). Could it be there is a property of dark matter on a micro scale (solar system) that is the root cause of these anomalies? Again these may be totally unrelated and my understanding of astrophysics is pretty abysmal but it might be worth looking into.
—I ought to expand on this post—