A new 9th planet for the solar system?

A new 9th planet for the solar system?


Thousands of years ago the sky gazers of
the classical world knew about six planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter,
and Saturn. Thanks to the invention of the telescope,
Uranus was discovered in 1781. But discrepancies in its orbit meant
that something was tugging at it. Sure enough that something turned out
to be Neptune. Ever since scientists have wondered if there might be yet another planet in our solar system sometimes called Planet X. Now astronomers have strong evidence for one. A planet roughly the size of Neptune with a mass ten times the
Earth’s and a thick atmosphere of hydrogen and helium. Just as Neptune was predicted based on its influence on Uranus, the evidence for Planet X is
indirect. Astronomers observed six small solar system objects and noticed they
come closest to the Sun in a unique configuration. There’s only a one in
fifteen thousand chance that this orbital clustering is a coincidence. It
is much more likely that Planet X has shepherded the six objects into their
orbits. This explodes our conception of the solar system because Planet X would
loop around the Sun unimaginably far away, in a strange elliptical orbit so
far away that it takes fifteen thousand years to make the trip. By comparison
Neptune’s orbital period is 165 years. Of course, not everyone will be convinced of Planet X until we have visual proof. Researchers are now using one of the
world’s largest telescopes, Subaru in Hawaii and they say they have a
reasonable chance of finding Planet X in the next five years Once spotted, we can welcome Planet X
as the ninth planet in our solar system.

100 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *