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Search narrows for mysterious Planet Nine

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Astronomers in France have managed to narrow down the area in which the new planet could be located.

Nobody knows exactly where it is, how big it is or if it even exists at all, but when researchers at the California Institute of Technology revealed earlier this year that the existence of a ninth planet in our solar system was a very real possibility, the hunt for this enigmatic new world began in earnest.

Read More: http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/news/291984/search-narrows-for-mysterious-planet-nine

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RedSquirrel

I'm a tad confused... they are looking for something that may or may not exist, may or may not be where they are looking and may or may not be massive enough to detect?

I mean, I dig the whole idea behind it, using mathematical models for it's concept, but It just reads like "Our tv channel changed, better look for a remote that we don't have".

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Nnicolette

No, they are looking because it is massive enough to have been detected.

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RedSquirrel

No, they are looking because it is massive enough to have been detected.

I dig that, but they still have no clue if it really exists. There is an effect of something and a planet -is- the best choice. It's just worded strangely in my opinion.

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b0wn

There is something, thus why they are trying to find it.

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Derek Willis

How much faith can we put in the calculations that a new planet is out there? Based on the perturbations of Uranus and Neptune Percival Lowell and others calculated that a planet of about seven times the mass of the Earth was located at a certain distance from the Sun and in a certain location in the sky. In 1930 Clyde Tombaugh took photographs of the relevant region in the sky and discovered the body subsequently called Pluto. However, it turned out that Pluto was not massive enough to cause the perturbations of Uranus and Neptune. It then turned out that the calculations of those perturbations were wrong. So, Pluto was discovered by accident!

http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/ojta/c1c/synthesis/perturbation/pluto-disc_tl.html

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Waspie_Dwarf

How much faith can we put in the calculations that a new planet is out there? Based on the perturbations of Uranus and Neptune Percival Lowell and others calculated that a planet of about seven times the mass of the Earth was located at a certain distance from the Sun and in a certain location in the sky. In 1930 Clyde Tombaugh took photographs of the relevant region in the sky and discovered the body subsequently called Pluto. However, it turned out that Pluto was not massive enough to cause the perturbations of Uranus and Neptune. It then turned out that the calculations of those perturbations were wrong. So, Pluto was discovered by accident!

That is rather the point of looking though. There are more than minor perturbations going on in the orbits of these Kuiper belt objects, they are in orbits that are difficult (if not impossible) to explain without something else acting on them... and the most likely thing is another planet.

One of the reasons that we know that the calculations were wrong in the case of Uranus/Neptune is the fact that we looked for a planet and didn't find it. The other side of the coin is that we know that the previous calculations for perturbations in Uranus' orbit were correct is because astronomers looked for a planet and found Neptune.

Things have advanced a lot since discovery of Pluto, calculations are no longer made by hand. Super computers mean that simulations can be made with extraordinary accuracy. However the only way we will know for sure if this planet exists is to look. If we find it then we have expanded our scientific knowledge. If we don't find it then we will know that there is some other force at work. Scientists will eventually work out what that is and we will have expanded our scientific knowledge. From a scientific point of view it is win/win.

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GoldenRabbit

I'm a tad confused... they are looking for something that may or may not exist, may or may not be where they are looking and may or may not be massive enough to detect?

I mean, I dig the whole idea behind it, using mathematical models for it's concept, but It just reads like "Our tv channel changed, better look for a remote that we don't have".

you'll never know if you never look.

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Derek Willis

That is rather the point of looking though.

I'm not saying astronomers shouldn't investigate what is going on. I just thought it interesting to point out that it was sheer fluke that Pluto was found where erroneous calculations suggested a far larger planet would be.

From my reading of the perturbations of some of the objects in the Kuiper Belt, the reason could be a single large body or a large number of smaller bodies spread out over another belt. Perhaps it would be better to emphasize the various possible reasons for the perturbations rather than announce there is a huge planet out there waiting to be discovered.

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Derek Willis

I'm not saying astronomers shouldn't investigate what is going on. I just thought it interesting to point out that it was sheer fluke that Pluto was found where erroneous calculations suggested a far larger planet would be.

From my reading of the perturbations of some of the objects in the Kuiper Belt, the reason could be a single large body or a large number of smaller bodies spread out over another belt. Perhaps it would be better to emphasize the various possible reasons for the perturbations rather than announce there is a huge planet out there waiting to be discovered.

Edit: I should add that I was being slightly tongue-in-cheek in my earlier post. I have for some time being doing a part-time degree in astronomy and so have great respect for Le Verrier, Tombaugh and the professional astronomers of today.

Edited by Derek Willis

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Derek Willis

Things have advanced a lot since discovery of Pluto, calculations are no longer made by hand.

Incidentally, your suggestion that the calculations being done by hand were the reason why errors were made regarding Pluto doesn't make sense because those same methods were correct regarding the discovery of Neptune eighty-odd years earlier. Perhaps Lowell was not so good at maths, rather than the method being inadequate.

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paperdyer

Incidentally, your suggestion that the calculations being done by hand were the reason why errors were made regarding Pluto doesn't make sense because those same methods were correct regarding the discovery of Neptune eighty-odd years earlier. Perhaps Lowell was not so good at maths, rather than the method being inadequate.

Aren't we constantly evoling mathematics to prove what we find with other methods and visa versa?

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Derek Willis

Aren't we constantly evoling mathematics to prove what we find with other methods and visa versa?

Of course mathematics improves and new techniques are found. But the point I was making is that when Urbain Le Verrier calculated the position of Neptune, and later when Lowell and Pickering attempted to calculate the position of the planet that was allegedly causing perturbations of Uranus and Neptune, they basically solved differential equations using iterative series. This meant a whole load of tedious calculations. This method can in theory be as accurate as anything a computer is capable of if a mathematician wants to devote a huge amount of time doing calculations. Le Verrier spent almost a year working on his Neptune calculations.

In 1859 Le Verrier also investigated the advancement of Mercury's perihelion using the same methods. He deduced that the perihelion advances by 38 arc-seconds per century more than it ought to when the gravitational effects of all the other planets are taken into account. In 1895 Simon Newcombe improved the figure to 43 arc-seconds by taking into account the fact that the Sun isn't a perfect sphere and rotates. In 1915 Albert Einstein used his General Theory of Relativity to explain the perihelion advance. He calculated - by hand - that the perihelion ought to advance by an additional 42.98 arc-seconds per century because of the difference between his equations and those of Newton.

What I am saying is that doing maths by hand is not necessarily inaccurate, it is slow.

The reason Lowell and Pickering were wrong about the perturbation of Uranus and Neptune was exacerbated because the data they had on those planets - mass, distance, eccentricity of orbit etc. - was slightly wrong. But having wrong data or input errors can be a problem for electronic computers just as much as human computers. For example in 1999 despite having its trajectory calculated with amazing accuracy by computer, the Mars Climate Orbiter crashed because some data had been inputted using the wrong units.

Edited by Derek Willis

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BeastieRunner

What else could cause this if not a planetary mass?

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Derek Willis

What else could cause this if not a planetary mass?

It would have to be a mass of some sort, either a single planet or a series of planetoids.

I like the quote at the end of The Guardian article link: "Many other planets have been predicted through modelling over the years - mostly wrongly".

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Nnicolette

I will say what i said in the other thread which is probably wrong but... Looking at this diagram of perturbations and where the object would be... I dont think its evidence of an object but evidence that the movement of the sun through space hasnt been calculated into the drag of the orbits.

post-120625-0-26026100-1456477119_thumb.

Edited by Nnicolette

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Derek Willis

I will say what i said in the other thread which is probably wrong but... Looking at this diagram of perturbations and where the object would be... I dont think its evidence of an object but evidence that the movement of the sun through space hasnt been calculated into the drag of the orbits.

What do you mean by the "drag" of the orbits? The orbits are elongated because orbits are ellipses. The orbits are not elongated because they are being dragged out due to the Sun's motion in space.

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Waspie_Dwarf

Incidentally, your suggestion that the calculations being done by hand were the reason why errors were made regarding Pluto doesn't make sense because those same methods were correct regarding the discovery of Neptune eighty-odd years earlier. Perhaps Lowell was not so good at maths, rather than the method being inadequate.

I wasn't trying to imply that the errors were made because the calculations were done by hand, rather I was suggesting that with supercomputers we can run simulations that simply weren't possible before. Sorry if I wasn't clear on that.

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Derek Willis

I wasn't trying to imply that the errors were made because the calculations were done by hand, rather I was suggesting that with supercomputers we can run simulations that simply weren't possible before. Sorry if I wasn't clear on that.

Ah, yes, I now see what you mean. I thought you were suggesting Lowell got things wrong because back then all he had was hand calculations. However, you were meaning that we now have the advantage of running dynamic simulations with supercomputers. Looking back it is pretty obvious what you meant, so it should be me apologizing for misinterpreting what you wrote. My bad, as they say!

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Waspie_Dwarf

so it should be me apologizing for misinterpreting what you wrote. My bad, as they say!

No problem sir, at least we are now singing from the same hymn sheet. :tu:

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JesseCuster

I will say what i said in the other thread which is probably wrong but... Looking at this diagram of perturbations and where the object would be... I dont think its evidence of an object but evidence that the movement of the sun through space hasnt been calculated into the drag of the orbits.

Orbits don't work that way.

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qxcontinuum

Nibiru ...

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Rlyeh

Nibiru ...

Is Jupiter.

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