Skip to comments.Scientists just found more evidence that Planet Nine exists in our Solar System
Posted on 03/29/2016 8:09:38 AM PDT by Red Badger
And this new planet could be huge.
Back in January, the astronomer who led the charge to have Pluto demoted to dwarf planet status announced that hed just found evidence that a huge, icy planet could be lurking on the edge of the Solar System, just past Neptune.
Mike Brown, a planetary astronomer at Caltech University, estimated that the hypothetical 'Planet Nine' appears to be circling the Sun on a super-elongated orbit that takes an incredible 10,000 to 20,000 years to complete. And now, thanks to a newly detected Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) thats acting really strange, Brown says the case for Planet Nine just got a whole lot stronger.
"Hey Planet Nine fans, a new eccentric KBO was discovered. And it is exactly where Planet Nine says it should be," Brown tweeted over the weekend.
So what do weirdly behaving KBOs have to do with finding a never-before-seen planet in our Solar System?
Well, when youre suggesting that something as large as Planet Nine - which is estimated to be 10 times more massive than Earth and four times the size - exists within a fairly crowded patch of the Universe, youd expect to see its considerable gravitational forces affect the smaller things floating around nearby.
And thats exactly what Brown and his colleagues have been identifying.
"We saw a strange signal in the data that meant something odd was going on in the outer Solar System," Brown told Ian Sample at The Guardian back in January. "All of these distant objects were lined up in a weird way and that shouldnt happen. We worked through the mundane explanations, but none of them worked out."
A total of six KBOs were identified as 'lining up' strangely, and now a seventh KBO has been added to the list. As Loren Grush reports for The Verge, this seventh KBO appears to have been pushed into a strange orbit by some great force nearby, about 149 billion km from the Sun, which is where Planet Nine is expected to be located. That's 75 times more distant than Pluto.
The newest object was discovered by researchers using the Canada France Hawaii Telescope to conduct the massive Outer Solar System Origins Survey (OSSOS), the latest results of which were presented recently by astronomer Michele Bannister at the SETI Institute.
Brown points to a slide showing the KBOs strange orbit from the talk as strengthening the case for Planet Nine.
Hey Planet Nine fans, a new eccentric KBO was discovered. And it is exactly where Planet Nine says it should be. pic.twitter.com/oZn0RDq8JF Mike Brown (@plutokiller) March 24, 2016
I haven't done the statistics yet, but I suspect this takes the probability of this being a statistical fluke down to ~.001% or so. Mike Brown (@plutokiller) March 24, 2016
Now, lets be clear about the state of Planet Nine as it currently stands. There is now strong evidence, via the strange behaviours of seven known KBOs, that something huge is lurking in the far reaches of our Solar System.
A huge planet is a good guess, but because of how incredibly distant this region in space is from Earth, we cant actually 'see' that far to visually confirm its existence. That means whatever circumstantial evidence we find for its existence needs to be incredibly solid, and were not there yet.
Browns yet to write up his claims that this new KBO is being influenced by a huge, nearby planet, and until they have been peer-reviewed, we have to treat them as very preliminary findings.
But more evidence - however preliminary - is exactly what Brown and other researchers need to either prove or disprove Planet Nines existence, so this is a very exciting discovery for all involved. We can't wait to see what else they find.
Then Pluto would be planet 10.
If it’s YUGE and icy, it should be easy to spot. Put the Hubble on it, even if the pics might be out of focus.
So it turns out that there’s no Plan Nine From Outer Space, but there is a Planet Nine!
It’s dark out there.............................
Great movie!....................when I was 10 years old..........................
This is great news. I recommend that we name this new planet Plewto. It’s perfect.
Mondas, home of the original Cybermen.
You mean "YUGE!" We can call it "Planet Trump."
“Back in January, the astronomer who led the charge to have Pluto demoted to dwarf planet”
This is SO wrong I almost didn’t bother to read the rest.
All Mike Brown did was find objects. It was a faction of the IAU that lead the charge. He did point out that either the things he was finding out there were either planets or Pluto was not.
At this point in his life Mike Brown was far more interested in the birth of his daughter than whether Pluto was a planet or not.
I suggest reading “How I killed Pluto and how it had it coming”.
Personally I don’t care one way or another. Does it matter if we call Pluto a planet or a dwarf planet? Not a whole lot. I still can’t see it in my scope.
I wonder if this new planet would be concealed on the back side of the sun where we are never able to see it.Even with the Hubble Space telescope.
You would think that with a telescope that powerful we would have seen it by now.
What would be most interesting, after proving that this object is a planet in our solar system, would be to calculate its orbit. Once that is done, you naturally know the period of its orbit, and how close it gets to Earth. Then you can correlate its closest approaches to Earth in the past with large events - if there are any, and there may not be any. It COULD explain a lot of the events of the past.
It may have a long period, and each time it swoops in, it also brings with it a retinue of various objects like comets, moons, rocks and debris rings to wreak havoc in the inner Solar System..................
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