Planet 9 is real and it’s lurking ominously at the edge of our solar system, scientists claim


The astronomers who first claimed a gigantic world is hiding on the fringes of our solar system have published two new papers which double down on arguments for its existence.

A pair of scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have written two new pieces of research setting out why Planet 9 is real.

This mystery world has never been formally observed, but its presence can be inferred based on the movements of ‘trans-Neptunian objects’ in the Kuiper Belt, an icy shell encircling humanity’s home star system

The publication of the two papers coincides with the third anniversary of the first study suggesting the existence of Planet 9.

An artist’s impression of Planet 9, which is also known as Planet X

MORE: Astronomer searching for the mysterious Planet 9 makes unexpected discovery

The first paper is called ‘Orbital Clustering in the Distant Solar System’ and finds that Kuiper Belt objects are being pushed and pulled by the gravitational tug of a ‘distant giant planet in an eccentric inclined orbit known as Planet Nine.

‘While explanations other than Planet Nine may someday be found, the statistical significance of this clustering is now difficult to discount,’ the paper states.

The second paper is called ‘The Planet Nine Hypothesis’ and is a review of all research into the enigmatic mystery world.

‘Over the past decade and a half, continued detection of minor bodies in the distant solar system has brought the intricate dynamical architecture of the distant Kuiper belt into much sharper focus,’ it says.

‘Staggeringly, the collective orbital structure of the current census of long-period trans-Neptunian objects offers a number of tantalizing hints at the possibility that an additional massive object – Planet Nine – may be lurking beyond the current observational horizon of the distant solar system.’

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It’s likely Planet 9 is a ‘super-Earth’ with a mass that’s greater than Earth’s, but ‘substantially less than that of a gas giant’.

‘At five Earth masses, Planet Nine is likely to be very reminiscent of a typical extrasolar super-Earth,’ said Batygin, an assistant professor of planetary science.

“It is the solar system’s missing link of planet formation. Over the last decade, surveys of extrasolar planets have revealed that similar-sized planets are very common around other sun-like stars.

‘Planet Nine is going to be the closest thing we will find to a window into the properties of a typical planet of our galaxy.’





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