Tags: ninth | planet | solar system | pluto

Ninth Planet in Solar System Lurking Way Beyond Pluto?

Image: Ninth Planet in Solar System Lurking Way Beyond Pluto?

Pluto from 280,000 miles away. (REUTERS/NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Handout)

By    |   Thursday, 21 Jan 2016 07:37 AM

Our solar system may soon have an official ninth planet once again, but it isn't Pluto.

The New York Times reported that the man who helped demote Pluto to "dwarf planet" status now believes there may be a massive planet at the far edge of the solar system.

The only problem? It might be too far away to see.

"We are pretty sure there’s one out there," said Michael E. Brown, a professor of planetary astronomy at the California Institute of Technology.

Brown and his fellow professor Konstantin Batygin recently published a paper in The Astronomical Journal showing evidence that some object — likely a planet — is exerting great gravitational force on other far-out bodies.

"[Other scientists] were pointing out that there was something funny going on in the outer solar system, but nobody could really understand what it was," said Brown, NPR reported. "Ever since they pointed it out we've been scratching our heads."

"What we have found is a gravitational signature of Planet 9 lurking in the outskirts of the solar system,' Batygin said, the AP reported.

The suspected object would, according to the data, most likely be about 10 times the size of Earth. That would also make it 5,000 times more massive than Pluto.

The suspected ninth planet is so far from the sun that it would probably take it between 10,000 and 20,000 Earth years to make a full orbit.

Brown said that he wanted to trumpet his theory in hopes that other scientists would keep an eye out for Planet 9.

"We could have stayed quiet and quietly spent the next five years searching the skies ourselves and hoping to find it. But I would rather somebody find it sooner, than me find it later," he said.

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Our solar system may soon have an official ninth planet once again, but it isn't Pluto.
ninth, planet, solar system, pluto
294
2016-37-21
Thursday, 21 Jan 2016 07:37 AM
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