Remember when Pluto was considered a planet, and we had nine planets? Those times are long gone since Pluto was demoted to the dwarf planet status back in 2006. However, there is a chance that we will have nine planets in our solar system once again. And the search for the so-called Planet Nine might end soon.
Reasons why Planet Nine exists
There is proof that shows us that a ninth planet could exist. The first time Planet Nine was mentioned was back in 2016, in a paper written by astrophysicists Konstantin Batygin and Michael Brown. Back then, they discovered that in the Kuiper Belt region comets and asteroids orbit in the same direction, and, more than that, they had their orbits tilted in the same way.
According to the paper, there is a 0,007 that this could happen. Therefore, researchers believe that the cause for that is another planet that hasn’t been discovered just yet.
Looking for Planet Nine
At the moment scientists are using the Japanese Subaru Telescope in Hawaii’s Mauna Kea Observatory to observe the orbits of the solar system objects. They are trying to find more evidence for their theory, and, at the same time, they try to determine the size of the mysterious planet.
Scientists believe that Planet Nine is five times larger than planet Earth, and its orbit is supposed to be beyond Neptune. According to the speculations of the researchers, Planet Nine should be around 250 astronomical units away from the Sun. One astronomical unit represents the distance between the sun and our planet.
That is a considerable distance, and you can keep in mind the fact that Neptune, which is the eighth planet, reaches 30 AU. Even Voyager One and Two launched in the 70s are “just” 145 AU and 120 AU from the Sun. However, the astronomers are getting closer to spotting Planet Nine, and future studies might result in identifying this distant world.
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.