Scientists have long searched for what could be the ninth planet at the edge of our Solar System. The hunt for this dark and icy world, a giant planet that is assumed to be ten times heavier then Earth, has been going on for more than a century. The planet is also expected to have an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium, as well as an iron core.
A mysterious distant world – is it really there?
Uncovering this enigmatic planet might solve some mysteries about our Solar System and could provide explanations to some peculiar anomalies regarding the unusual orbits of certain objects that are circling farther than Neptune. But is this planet really there or are we just fooling ourselves? The opinions of the astronomers are greatly divided, however, there is no doubt that everyone is trying to find out the truth. They are using the largest telescopes in the world, as well as the most powerful computers, in order to unravel this mystery. Moreover, they also rely on the help of thousands of amateur citizen-scientists who are engaged in this astronomical hunt that for some has already become an obsession.
The Backyard Worlds citizen science project
Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 is a citizen science project, funded by NASA, which allows people to search for brown dwarfs, as well as other stars with a low mass. This could help discover the long-debated Planet Nine and for some people this quest has turned into a time-consuming passion. The way astronomers find planets is by observing points of light in the sky that are not staying in the same place every night. Luckily, in our days this is a much easier process than it was in the past, as scientists can now use computer software to compare images that were taken hours, days or week apart. Where will this hunt lead? We don’t know yet, but we hope we will soon have some answers whether this ninth planet exists or not.
Laura grew up in a small town in northern Quebec. She studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married her husband one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children. Laura is an advocate for people with disabilities.