Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Strong evidence of a ninth planet in our solar system

Artist's impression of a ninth planet: Telescopes are sure to try to track down the object... if it really exists

American astronomers say they have strong evidence that there is a ninth planet in our Solar System orbiting far beyond even the dwarf world Pluto. The team, from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), has no direct observations to confirm its presence just yet. Rather, the scientists make the claim based on the way other far-flung objects are seen to move. But if proven, the hypothetical planet would have 10 times the mass of Earth.
The Caltech astronomers have a vague idea where it ought to be on the sky, and their work is sure to fire a campaign to try to track it down.
 "There are many telescopes on the Earth that actually have a chance of being able to find it," said Dr Mike Brown.
"And I'm really hoping that as we announce this, people start a worldwide search to go find this ninth planet."

The group's calculations suggest the object orbits 20 times farther from the Sun on average than does the eighth - and currently outermost - planet, Neptune, which moves about 4.5 billion km from our star. But unlike the near-circular paths traced by the main planets, this novel object would be in a highly elliptical trajectory, taking between 10,000 and 20,000 years to complete one full lap around the Sun.

The Caltech group has analyzed the movements of objects in a band of far-off icy material known as the Kuiper Belt. It is in this band that Pluto resides.
The scientists say they see distinct alignments among some members of the Kuiper Belt - and in particular two of its larger members known as Sedna and 2012 VP113. These alignments, they argue, are best explained by the existence of a hitherto unidentified large planet.
"The most distant objects all swing out in one direction in a very strange way that shouldn't happen, and we realized the only way we could, theoretically,  get them to swing in one direction is if there is a massive planet, also very distant in the Solar System, keeping them in place with it's gravity, while they all go around the Sun together" explained Dr Brown.
"I went from trying very hard to be sceptical that what we were talking about was true, to suddenly thinking, 'this might actually be true'."

The idea that there might be a so-called Planet X moving in the distant reaches of the Solar System has been debated for more than a hundred years. It has fallen in and out of vogue. What makes this claim a little more interesting and believable is Dr Brown himself.
He specializes in finding far-flung objects, and it was his discovery of 2,236km-wide Eris in the Kuiper Belt in 2005 that led famously to the demotion of Pluto from full planet status a year later (Dr Brown's Twitter handle is @PlutoKiller).
At that stage, Pluto was thought to be slightly smaller than Eris, but is now known to be just a little bit bigger.

Others who model the outer Solar System have been saying for some years that the range of sizes seen in the objects, so far identified in the Kuiper Belt, suggest another planet perhaps the size of Earth or Mars could be a possibility. But there is sure to be strong scepticism until a confirmed telescopic observation is made.
Dr Brown and Konstantin Batygin (@kbatygin) report their work in The Astronomical Journal.
Outside scientists say their calculations stack up and express a mixture of caution and excitement about the result. “I could not imagine a bigger deal if—and of course that’s a boldface ‘if’—if it turns out to be right,” says Gregory Laughlin, a planetary scientist at the University of California (UC), Santa Cruz. “What’s thrilling about it is the planet is detectable," ( if it is there) with our present technology.

The 'ninth planet' - where to look?

The six most distant known objects in the Solar system with orbits exclusively beyond Neptune (magenta) all mysteriously line up in a single direction. Why? Brown and Batygin argue that this is because a massive planet (orange) is anti-aligned with these objects. Can telescopes now find this planet? Is it possible the evidence is already in observational data but no-one has yet recognized it? The hunt is on.

Hello my junior scientists....
If it turns out there is another planet in our solar system...and I strongly suspect this is true....what do you think it should be named???? Mars Jupiter and Saturn come from Greek and Roman mythology but I think the new planet should have a modern name.

Love Aunt Jeannie


  1. Jonny and Chris6:09:00 PM

    We think there is lots of planets out there , we also think it should have a modern name , We have not decided on a name , maybe Earth #2 and if man make it there , we will destroy it before it make an obit around the sun .
    I asked Jenny what would she name it and Jenny said 'Last Chance' Jenny said it is good to know there is life out there , maybe not as we know it it may be micro or huge like the 50 foot woman in the movie , we should try to take care of this planet , Sha said it is like tearing down your house before getting another place to live , you have no where to go .
    Uncle Sal agrees with Sha and Jenny , uncle Sal said if they find a new planet , it will be for the select few and most of mankind is doomed . I asked daddy and he said uncle Sal had a point , that's why people like you and mama is trying so hard to get the point across to people , daddy said there are strength in numbers , but knowledge is also a powerful tool and that is why school and science should go hand in hand , he said we should learn about everything that is available to us put it to good use and to share with others , like mama did when she learn about climate change from you . We thank you so much and we got involved with NASA when you did a post on naming a planet and was lucky we had Sci-Port here where we could study .
    Thank you aunt Jeannie hope you and uncle Brian and Nana is feeling better . We love you very much
    Jonny and Chris

  2. Hi Jonny and Chris and all the cubs and loyal knights,
    It is a really big deal if there is another planet in our solar system, orbiting our sun. The first six planets were discovered a couple of thousand years ago.
    But Uranus wasn't discovered until the 1780's, Neptune was found in 1846 and Pluto was discovered in 1930. So a ninth planet in our system would be awesome and make this an outstanding year in history. It is probably too far from the sun to support life and it may be just another gas giant. But you never know, they are finding some real surprises out there and this planet may be nothing like we expect.
    Knowledge is about the most powerful tool we fact I'll change IS the most powerful tool we have.
    Here's a good habit to have...try to learn at least one thing you didn't know, every day. Even if it is just a little thing. And never stop learning. Nobody on this earth knows everything...although, some people think they do. Uncle Brian thinks he knows almost everything...Hahahaha! That's why I always play jokes on him. Because I learned that we are students all our lives.
    Sharing knowledge is a great thing. Then we all move forward together and make things better.
    Hahahaha!:-) I DIDN'T MEAN TO GIVE A LECTURE. Thank you for your kind wishes.
    love all you guys
    Stay in touch
    Aunt Jeannie

  3. PS: I like the name "Last chance" and Sha is so right...we do more destroying than we do building.
    We could name it Voldemort because he was a guy who stayed hidden for over ten years then came to life. Or how about R2D2 in honor of Star Wars ??
    Luv Aunt Jeannie


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