Remember how sad everyone was that Pluto is no longer the ninth planet in the solar system? It’s now a dwarf planet, and the bad news is we only have eight planets orbiting our sun.
However, circumstantial evidence gathered from different observations support the theory of a “Planet Nine” that could orbit our star from afar.
According to an article on Advocator, backed by The Inquisitr, this planet might lurk at the edge of our solar system. An international group of scientists believes that this mysterious planet is hiding somewhere beyond the Kuiper belt.
Surhud More, an astronomer at the University of Tokyo, is always ready to spot it:
“Every time we take a picture, there is this possibility that Planet Nine exists in the shot.”
Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, planetary astrophysicists at the California Institute of Technology theorized the existence of Planet Nine in 2016.
Batygin and Brown theorize that this planet is a “missing super-Earth,” that gathered around it a lot of small objects in the Kuiper belt. Their weird tilt was proof that something pulled at them.
Astronomer Scott Sheppard (Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington) is convinced that there is a missing planet out there. He discovered a planetoid that was orbiting the sun at 80 astronomical units (an astronomical unit – AU – is the distance between the Sun and Earth). He concluded that:
“If things are in the same orbit, then something’s pushing them.”
Why Is Planet Nine “Invisible”?
The astrophysicist explains we couldn’t detect Planet Nine because the location makes it “essentially invisible to our observatories.”
The planet should be a frozen giant that is 1,000 times farther from the sun than our planet. This makes the planet too dim for observatories on Earth. If Planet Nine were only 600 times farther from the Sun than our planet is, it would mean that it would be 160,000 times dimmer than Neptune. So, at 1,000 AU, Planet Nine would appear 1 million times fainter.
There might be two millimeter telescopes in Antarctica and Chile that could pick up the glow if the Planet crosses the search field. Right now, two teams are looking for Planet Nine: one led by Brown and one led by Sheppard.
However, the chances of spotting this elusive planet are very low, because many things could obscure it from our observatories – light pollution in the Milky Way or the glare of a bright star. And even if we look towards its location, it could be farther than 1,000 AU, making it invisible to our observatories.
Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.