Scientists haven’t been able to find that elusive planet which could be in our outer solar system. However, now astronomers that worked on a new study propose to look for the mysterious planet into the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation, which is the Cosmic Glow of the big bang. This radiation shows the early moments of the universe and can also help astrophysicists to find Planet X.
Because this elusive planet is very cold, the thermal emission is in the submillimeter range, so the best way to find its emission is to do it through the surveys that map the CMB at millimeter wavelengths.
Scanning For Movement with PanSTARRS Observatory and Blanco 4-meter Telescope
The authors of the paper explain in their study that a high-resolution CMB survey that gets to cover the same part of the sky for a period of time could detect Planet X if it would move.
Eric Baxter is one of the lead authors of the study and a postdoctoral researcher in astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania. According to an interview with Forbes, Baxter explained that they could detect Planet X by looking at its parallax – “apparent movement against distance background objects as the Earth revolves around the Sun.” The parallax is a few arc-minutes per year.
The authors wrote that a hypothetical Planet X in our solar system should be at a distance of about 700 AU (distances between Earth and Sun) and have the mass of 10 Earths.
As for the origin of Planet X, astronomers know very little. They also theorize that it could have been captured gravitationally by another solar system’s star.
At the moment, the authors are performing optical searches at the PanSTARRS observatory in Hawaii and are also using the Dark Energy Survey camera at the Blanco 4-meter telescope in Chile.
Does Planet X Really Exist?
All the evidence pointing towards Planet X are from the Kuiper Belt Objects which are clumped and aligned from Neptune to 50 AU towards the margins of our solar system.
As for sending a probe like the Voyager spacecraft, Baxter explains that it is possible, but very difficult, considering that Planet X might be somewhere between 400 to 1000 AU from us, while Voyager 1 is 130 AU away.
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.