JAN 20, 2016 04:44 PM PST

Possible Ninth Planet Discovered Beyond Pluto in Our Solar System

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Does a ninth planet exist in our solar system after Pluto, the dward planet we just recently successfully flew past and snapped pictures of with NASA's New Horizons spacecraft?
 
Scientists now believe they’ve found a planet out there that takes anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 Earth years to orbit the Sun just one time. The planet, which at this time is being called “Planet Nine,” is an icy world that is approximately 10 times heavier than that of Earth and is 20 times further from the Sun than Neptune is.
 

An artist's rendition of Planet Nine.


Although the planet hasn’t yet been imaged or seen, researchers Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown estimate the planet is out there somewhere based on mathematical modeling and computer simulations.
 
Scientists had long thought that there must have been something out there giving Pluto and several other dwarf planets such a strange orbit around the Sun, and this new larger planet is probably the missing key to that phenomenon.
 
There are six dwarf planets known to have a very odd elliptical orbit around the Sun that are tilted about 30º away from that of other planets in our solar system, and this isn’t something that we can expect to see naturally without some other kind of force acting upon them.
 
"Although we were initially quite skeptical that this planet could exist, as we continued to investigate its orbit and what it would mean for the outer solar system, we become increasingly convinced that it is out there," says Batygin, an assistant professor of planetary science. "For the first time in over 150 years, there is solid evidence that the solar system's planetary census is incomplete."
 
If these findings are true, then this would be the first time since ancient times that a new planetary body has been discovered. Unlike Pluto and the other dwarf planets in our solar system, Planet Nine is actually expected to be large enough to fill the shoes of a full-blown planet.

Source: Caltech

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
DEC 15, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 15, 2019
Can We Grow Plants on Mars?
If we were ever to send humans to Mars for a long-term or permanent visit, then it’d be essential that we develop some sort of renewable food source....
DEC 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 15, 2019
The Moon is Shrinking, and Here's Why
When the Moon was conceived during the formation of the solar system, it was comprised of incredibly hot material. Years’ worth of space rock impacts...
DEC 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 15, 2019
ESA's Upcoming Euclid Space Telescope Could Teach Us About Dark Energy
The European Space Agency is currently developing a new visible to near-infrared space telescope dubbed Euclid, which is expected to tell us more about the...
DEC 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 15, 2019
NASA's Dawn Mission Taught Us Much About the Asteroid Vesta
In 2011, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft arrived at its destination, enabling planetary scientists with the American space agency to study a particularly capt...
DEC 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 15, 2019
Hayabusa-2 Departs Ryugu Asteroid to Return to Earth with Samples
It’s been just over a year since JAXA’s renowned Hayabusa-2 mission arrived at asteroid 162173 Ryugu to study the dynamics of the distant space...
DEC 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 15, 2019
SpaceX's Starship Prototype Explodes During Pressure Test
SpaceX is best known for its Falcon-series of rockets that often resupply the International Space Station and ferry satellites into space to deploy an orbi...
Loading Comments...