American astronomers say they have strong evidence that there is a ninth planet in our Solar System orbiting well beyond Pluto.
A planet about 10 times as massive as Earth would be large enough to become the ninth planet of our solar system and it’s fair to say scientists are pretty excited about this latest discovery.
Despite the fact it has yet to be seen by scientists, they have located it by watching the way dwarf planets in the outer solar system move around it and their orbits seem to be effected by something huge, yet hidden.
Speaking to National Geographic, Greg Laughlin of the University of California said:
If there’s going to be another planet in the solar system, I think this is it. It would be quite extraordinary if we had one. Fingers crossed. It would be amazing.
If the planet does in fact exist, it is thought to be about ten times as massive or three times as large as Earth.
Speaking to The Independent, Mike Brown, the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy said:
This would be a real ninth planet. There have only been two true planets discovered since ancient times, and this would be a third. It’s a pretty substantial chunk of our solar system that’s still out there to be found, which is pretty exciting.
The possible new planet – which is simply named Planet 9 (how original) – would be around 200 to 300 times as far away from the sun as when it gets to the closest star, scientists say. An entire orbit of the sun would take roughly 20,000 years.
Even with the two huge telescopes currently looking at it, it would be impossible to spot. This is why researchers have spotted the possible planet by monitoring disturbances in the gravitational field of the far star system.
A new paper – authored by Michael Brown and Konstantin Batygin and published in the Astronomical Journal – claims the mass that sees to be upsetting the movement of other objects is caused by a mysterious, unknown world.
It’s very rare that our solar system changes, with the only recent addition being Pluto in 1930.
It spent most of that time being the most distant and smallest planet, but was controversially downgraded to a dwarf planet- leaving our solar system with eight members.
A ninth planet has long been the basis of conspiracy theories, but it seems it could really exist. Only time will tell…