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Planet Nine May Be Out There Tilting Solar System

Planet Nine May Be Out There Tilting Solar System

Professor of Planetary Astronomy Mike Brown speaks in front of a computer simulation of the probable orbit of Planet Nine (yellow) at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California January 20, 2016. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

By    |   Friday, 21 October 2016 09:22 AM

Planet Nine, a massive planet believed to be causing the solar system to tilt, is being sought by astronomers.

Earlier this year Michael Brown, a professor of planetary astronomy at the California Institute of Technology, presented evidence hinting at an elusive ninth planet that’s believed to be 10 times the size of Earth and more than 100 billion miles away from the sun, The New York Times noted.

“It’s so far away that it essentially gets this huge lever arm on the solar system, and it slowly tilts the planets in its direction,” Brown said Wednesday during a joint meeting between the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences and European Planetary Science Congress in Pasadena, California, the Times reported. “It can tilt the solar system.”

In the past, scientists have concluded that the sun tilts at a six-degree angle against a plane consisting of the eight known planets, the Times noted. However, Brown disagrees. He said, in actuality, it’s the planets that are tilted at an angle, not the sun. Brown believes this has been directly caused by Planet Nine.

“It’s really hard for me to think that the solar system could be doing all that it’s doing without there being a massive planet out there,” he said, according to the Times.

Elizabeth Bailey, a Caltech grad student, conducted a follow-up study to Brown’s, and came to a similar conclusion – one that implies that each planet travels around the sun on a flat plane, Forbes noted. Bailey said that plane is tilted at six degrees to the sun, which is causing it to look like our star is off at an angle.

“Because Planet Nine is so massive and has an orbit tilted compared to the other planets, the solar system has no choice but to slowly twist out of alignment,” Bailey said, according to Forbes.

Despite this ninth planet still being a mystery as scientists are still working to prove its existence, according to The Guardian, astronomers are saying that Planet Nine could be located as early as three years from now.

“The search for planet nine is as much about understanding the effects of planet nine on the solar system, the physics of planet nine, as it is about understanding where it is,” Brown said, according to The Guardian.

“At this stage we have so many lines of evidence that there’s a massive planet out there that if there’s not a massive planet out there it has to be that there was one there yesterday and disappeared,” he added.

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Planet Nine, a massive planet believed to be causing the solar system to tilt, is being sought by astronomers.
planet, nine, tilting, solar system
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2016-22-21
Friday, 21 October 2016 09:22 AM
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