Tag: Planet Nine

Goblin, The Hidden Planet Nine, Lurking In Outskirts Of Our Solar System?

There is a growing evidence that our solar system has another Planet Nine or Planet X that is orbiting the Sun at a great distance.

Astronomer Scott S. Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington and his team explained the orbital details of the planet, which they have nicknamed Goblin, while officially it is designated in 2015 as TG387.

The team took three years to figure out the orbit of the Planet, which is interesting. Their findings have been published in the Astronomical Journal.

Distanced at about 7.4 billion miles from the sun, or about 2.5 times farther away than Pluto, the planet’s most distant end of its elliptical, 40,000-year orbit, is nearly 70 times farther from the sun than Pluto.

However, TG387 remains far beyond the pull of the gravitation of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, and astronomers have now discovered several bodies with such distant orbits.




In 2016, Michael Brown and Konstantin Batygin of the California Institute of Technology, originally predicted about an unseen planet, bigger than Earth yet smaller than Neptune. And it was named Planet Nine.

Ann-Marie Madigan, an astronomer at the University of Colorado, has suggested that gravity from a massive ring of small worlds early in the solar system’s history could explain the distant orbits.

“This new object does look like it’s quite good for the Planet Nine theory,” Madigan said.

Dr. Brown, who is behind Pluto’s demotion as a dwarf planet, is currently leading the search for Planet Nine. “Mostly it’s just another piece that fits in the puzzle very nicely,” said Brown.

Unseen by any earth-based telescope, TG387 is extremely lucky to have been located. We think there are thousands of these, and most of them are too distant to detect,” said Sheppard.

The discovery of the new planet may now trigger conspiracy theorists to claim that it could be the Nibiru, a rogue planet lurking outside our solar system to enter any time to cause destruction.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

‘Planet Nine’ Can’t Hide Much Longer, Scientists Say

Planet Nine’s days of lurking unseen in the dark depths of the outer solar system may be numbered.

The hypothetical giant planet, which is thought to be about 10 times more massive than Earth, will be discovered within 16 months or so, astronomer Mike Brown predicted.

I’m pretty sure, I think, that by the end of next winter — not this winter, next winter — I think that there’ll be enough people looking for it that … somebody’s actually going to track this down,” Brown said during a news conference at a joint meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) and the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) in Pasadena, California.

Brown said that eight to 10 groups are currently looking for the planet.

At the “next one of these [DPS-EPSC meetings], we’ll be talking about finding Planet Nine instead of just looking for it,” added Brown, who’s based at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena.




That would be a pretty quick path from hypothetical planet to confirmed world. The existence of Planet Nine was seriously proposed for the first time just in 2014, by astronomers Scott Sheppard and Chadwick Trujillo, of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., and the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii, respectively.

Sheppard and Trujillo noted that the dwarf planet Sedna, the newfound object 2012 VP113 and several other bodies far beyond Pluto share certain odd orbital characteristics, a coincidence that would make sense if their paths through space had been shaped by an unseen, giant “perturber” in the region.

The researchers suggested that this putative planet is perhaps two to 15 times more massive than Earth and lies hundreds of astronomical units (AU) from the sun.

This interpretation was bolstered in January of this year by Brown and fellow Caltech astronomer Konstantin Batygin, who found evidence of a perturber’s influence in the orbits of a handful of additional distant objects.

This “Planet Nine,” as Batygin and Brown dubbed the putative world, likely contains about 10 Earth masses and orbits on a highly elliptical path whose aphelion is about 1,000 AU, the researchers said.

The evidence for Planet Nine’s existence has continued to grow over the past nine months, as several different research teams have determined that the orbits of other small, distant objects appear to have been sculpted as well.

This is well within reach of the giant telescopes,” he said.

The Subaru telescope, I think, on Mauna Kea, [in Hawaii] — the Japanese national telescope — is the prime instrument for doing the search. But there are a lot of other people who have clever ideas on how to find it, too, that are trying with their own telescopes.”

So which research team will ultimately find Planet Nine? Brown said he isn’t sure, and he stressed that getting credit for the historic discovery should be a secondary concern for astronomers.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Weird Space Rock Provides More Evidence For Mysterious ‘Planet Nine’

The solar system just got a bit stranger. As astronomers continue their ongoing quest to find the elusive Planet Nine, a team found a space rock that lends credence to the idea that a huge super-Earth planet really exists in the outer reaches of our solar system.

The newfound asteroid, called 2015 BP519, adds to a growing body of evidence about little worlds in the solar system being perturbed by something big.

Astronomers detailed its discovery and description in a new paper, adding that the bizarre angle of its orbit gives more weight to the idea that a big planet is out there — somewhere — tugging on the asteroid’s path around the sun.

Following up on the discovery, Quanta Magazine recently published an article surveying several astrophysicists who specialize in studying small worlds, including the discoverers of 2015 BP519.

While not everybody agreed that Planet Nine was responsible for the strange orbit, the overwhelming majority agreed the new discovery gives more credence to the idea.




The second you put Planet Nine in the simulations, not only can you form objects like this object, but you absolutely do,” lead author Juliette Becker, a graduate student at the University of Michigan, told Quanta.

It’s not the first time Planet Nine was blamed for pushing an object around.

Back in 2014, before Planet Nine was officially hypothesized, astronomers Scott Sheppard and Chadwick Trujillo noticed orbital irregularities in several small bodies beyond Neptune’s orbit.

These included dwarf planet Sedna, a newfound object called 2012 VP113, and several other trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs).

Then, in January 2016, astronomers Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown saw more evidence of TNOs with perturbed orbits.

They were the ones who first gave “Planet Nine” a name, size and distance. They suggested that the mysterious planet could be 10 times more massive than Earth, located 600 astronomical units (AU) from the sun.

A flood of studies followed about TNOs and how Planet Nine might have affected their orbits; the following summary is just a sampling.

Not all teams were enthusiastic, with one group from the Outer Solar System Origins Survey (OSSOS) cautioning that many of these surveys could be just observational bias.

But astronomers persisted, with Sheppard and Trujillo discovering at least two new TNOs possibly affected by Planet Nine. Another study showed Planet Nine perhaps influenced the tilt of planets in our solar system.

And in 2017, astronomers from the University of Madrid in Spain found peculiarities in the orbits of 22 “extreme” TNOs that orbit the sun that could also be explained by a large, distant body exerting gravitational influence.

By October 2017, Batygin said, there were at least five different lines of evidence that suggest the existence of the planet.

“If you were to remove this explanation and imagine Planet Nine does not exist, then you generate more problems than you solve. All of a sudden, you have five different puzzles, and you must come up with five different theories to explain them,” he said in a statement.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Planet Nine Could Be Our Solar System’s Missing ‘Super Earth’

Planet Nine is out there, and astronomers are determined to find it, according to a new statement from NASA. In fact, mounting evidence suggests it’s hard to imagine our solar system without the unseen world.

The hypothetical planet is believed to be about 10 times more massive than Earth and located in the dark, outer reaches of the solar system, approximately 20 times farther from the sun than Neptune is.

While the mysterious world still has yet to be found, astronomers have discovered a number of strange features of our solar system that are best explained by the presence of a ninth planet, according to the NASA statement.

There are now five different lines of observational evidence pointing to the existence of Planet Nine,” Konstantin Batygin, a planetary astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, said in the statement.




If you were to remove this explanation and imagine Planet Nine does not exist, then you generate more problems than you solve.”

“All of a sudden, you have five different puzzles, and you must come up with five different theories to explain them.

In 2016, Batygin and co-author Mike Brown, an astronomer at Caltech, published a study that examined the elliptical orbits of six known objects in the Kuiper Belt, a distant region of icy bodies stretching from Neptune outward toward interstellar space.

Their findings revealed that all of those Kuiper Belt objects have elliptical orbits that point in the same direction and are tilted about 30 degrees “downward” compared to the plane in which the eight official planets circle the sun.

Using computer simulations of the solar system with a Planet Nine, Batygin and Brown also showed that there should be even more objects tilted a whopping 90 degrees with respect to the solar plane.

Further investigation revealed that five such objects were already known to fit these parameters, the researchers said.

Since then, the astronomers have found new evidence that further supports the existence of Planet Nine.

With help from Elizabeth Bailey, an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at Caltech, the team showed that Planet Nine’s influence might have tilted the planets of our solar system

Which would explain why the zone in which the eight major planets orbit the sun is tilted by about 6 degrees compared to the sun’s equator.

Finally, the researchers demonstrate how Planet Nine’s presence could explain why some Kuiper Belt objects orbit in the opposite direction from everything else in the solar system.

Going forward, the researchers plan to use the Subaru Telescope at Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii to find Planet Nine, and then deduce where the mysterious world came from.

The most common type of planets discovered around other stars in our galaxy has been what astronomers call “super Earths” — rocky worlds that are larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune.

However, no such planet has yet been discovered in our solar system, meaning that Planet Nine could be our missing “super Earth,” the researchers said.

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Pass it on: New Scientist