Science

‘Planet Nine’ Could Be Pluto’s Replacement According To Study

Researchers believe that they may have found the replacement for Pluto as the “ninth planet” after its famous and, debatable , harsh ejection by the International Astronomical Union in 2006.

'Planet Nine' Could Be Pluto's Replacement According To Study

“Planet Nine” could be visible from your house once found

Using supercomputer simulations, California Institute of Technology astronomers Konstantin Batygin, a theoretician, and Mike Brown, who has been credited with the discovery of a number of dwarf planets, believe that they are on to something. That something being the discovery of “Planet Nine.”

Their findings, where they believe they have found a planet (one they can’t find), were published on Wednesday in the most recent issue of Astronomical Journal.

Thing about this discovery is…they don’t know where it is.

“It’s big enough, and probably reflective enough, that it should be relatively bright,” Brown told CBS News in a telephone interview. “We know the orbit, but we don’t know where in the orbit it is.”

There “findings” are based on the fact that the pair noticed a number of bodies in the Kuiper Belt (past the shamed Pluto from Earth)  whose orbits suggest that they are influenced by a gravitation force of a planet that they believe to be ten times the size of Earth in mass. It’s distance from the sun would put its orbit over 20 times farther out that Neptune’s and would take between 10,000 and 20,000 years to complete.

Remembering that Earth makes the trip once a year gives you an idea how far out “Planet Nine” is from the sun. But again, where is this thing?

Brown counters that question with “Even at its most distant from the sun, it’s bright enough that it could be seen by at least the biggest telescopes in the world,” he said. “So it’s not hopeless, this is not something we just have to hypothesize about and you never go out and see it. I think that it will be found within five years now that we know the path in the sky to be searching.”

Brown added that even owners of powerful home telescopes will be able to see it, thing is…when is that?

First planet “discovered” since Neptune in 1846..excluding poor Pluto of course

Brown and Batygin’s studies and modeling follow the 2014 work of Scott Shepherd and Chad Trujillo, the latter a student of Brown’s, who found 13 distant Kuiper Belt bodies “sharing” and orbit.

“Although we were initially quite skeptical that this planet could exist, as we continued to investigate its orbit and what it would mean for the outer solar system, we become increasingly convinced that it is out there,” Batygin said following the publication of the two on Wednesday. “For the first time in over 150 years, there is solid evidence that the solar system’s planetary census is incomplete.”
The pair, found of the 13 bodies that were noticed by Shepherd and Trujillo, six deserved special notice.
“The key observation is that there are these Kuiper Belt objects, the most distant objects beyond the orbit of Neptune, the ones that swing out the farthest from the sun so they’re the ones that are the least affected by the eight planets that we know, all of those guys suddenly swing off in that one direction,” Brown said. “Which is really a bizarre thing to realize.”
As a big fan of Pluto, perhaps I just own a “Pluto (1930-2006) (R)evolve (I)n (P)eace t-shirt, I’m not a fan of Brown’s book “How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming.”
Personal issues off the table, if they can find Planet Nine there is no doubt it will remain a planet.
“This would be a real ninth planet,” Brown wrote in the Caltech news release. “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.”