After years of searching for Planet Nine, astronomers still haven’t seen it yet. However, there is some proof seen in many trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) that imply the presence of a large planet close to the edge of the solar system that follow its orbit.
Nonetheless, not yet found, Planet Nine is still a mystery. Many people suggest it doesn’t exist, but the evidence starts piling up. Could there really be another planet in our solar system that we haven’t yet found?
“The Goblin” – 2015 TG387
Back in 2015, astronomers found evidence of a rock which they call 2015 TG387, or “The Goblin.” What’s very interesting about this celestial body is that its trajectory around the Sun seems to be influenced by something, although Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune’s gravity doesn’t influence it from afar. So, what makes “The Goblin” act like that? Scott Sheppard (astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science) and his colleagues discovered the 2015 TG387, explaining their observations and analysis:
“It never interacts with anything that we know of in the solar system. Somehow, it had to get on this elongated orbit in the past, and that’s the big question: What did it interact with to get [there]?”
To find out the answer to this question, Sheppard and the team used mathematical simulations and came with one result: 2015 TG387 had an elongated orbit because it interacted with a larger planet – the theoretical Planet Nine (or Planet X):
“They [TNOs] can be used as probes to understand what is happening at the edge of our solar system.”
However, catching this elusive Planet Nine would be tricky and require a lot of time. That’s because it is too far away from the Sun and it’s faint and that the telescopes can see it when it approaches the Sun, which calculations show that it happens once every 40,000 years. Goblin is almost 300km in diameter, and astronomers only found it because it was at the right time in the orbit.
Finally, there are many camps on the Planet 9 theory: believers, skeptics, prophets (on the Nibiru part), and so on. Bottom line: Planet 9 could be very far away, and we just don’t know where to look. There is no way a planet as big as Jupiter is lurking at the edge of the solar system. And there are still a lot of things we don’t know yet about space and what could cloak a distant icy planet as Planet Nine.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.