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Space & Astronomy

Debate rages on over recent 'Planet X' claims

By T.K. Randall
December 15, 2015 · Comment icon 15 comments

Does a hidden planet really lurk in the outer reaches of the solar system ? Image Credit: NASA
Researchers have identified what could be two new large planets in the outer reaches of our solar system.
The idea that there could be a previously undiscovered world located far out beyond the orbit of Pluto has been the subject of heated debate among astronomers for years.

Recently researchers from Sweden and Mexico submitted two new papers claiming the alleged discovery of not one, but two new planets in the outer solar system. The release followed on from a similar discovery earlier this year of two 'trans-Neptunian objects' by scientists in Madrid.

Both of the objects, one having appeared in the sky near to the star W Aquilae and the other adjacent to Alpha Centauri, were picked up by the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA).

Despite indications that these could be two new planets within our solar system however the response to the findings by other astronomers has been one of considerable skepticism.
Right now it's difficult to completely rule out the possibility that the objects aren't, for example, nearby asteroids or even a pair of brown dwarf stars located in nearby interstellar space.

It's also possible that the findings are due to nothing more than random blips of noise.

California Institute of Technology astronomer Mike Brown certainly has his doubts.

"If it is true that ALMA accidentally discovered a massive outer solar system object in its tiny, tiny, tiny, field of view, that would suggest that there are something like 200,000 Earth-sized planets in the outer solar system," he said. "Which, um, no."

Despite his skepticism however Brown does admit that "the idea that there might be large planets lurking in the outer solar system is perfectly plausible."

Source: Scientific American | Comments (15)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by aquatus1 9 years ago
So 'Planet X' is just any planet that some researchers find while the others remain skeptical of? or is this a misleading title? Pretty much. It's like "missing link" for biologists. It's just a placeholder.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Nnicolette 9 years ago
Well that is some ridiculous reasoning. If its true we happened to spot it there would be 20,000 of them and there isnt? Wtf Well that is some ridiculous reasoning. If its true we happened to spot it there would be 20,000 of them and there isnt? Wtf
Comment icon #8 Posted by Dr.Brian 9 years ago
These are just claims based on speculative evidence and are not peer reviewed scientific papers claiming these planets actually exist. More than likely one of the multiple logical explanations for what their data stands for is correct and they are probably not planets at all.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Merc14 9 years ago
These are just claims based on speculative evidence and are not peer reviewed scientific papers claiming these planets actually exist. More than likely one of the multiple logical explanations for what their data stands for is correct and they are probably not planets at all. Actually the teams have submitted research papers but they haven't been accepted yet. From the article: On December 8 researchers from Sweden and Mexico quietly submitted two papers to the prestigious journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, announcing their discovery of not one but two possible Planet X candidates. The quie... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by kalon1701 9 years ago
Oh dear lord, the Nibiru nut bunch are going to have a field day with this.
Comment icon #11 Posted by johnnyskidmarx 9 years ago
haha yeah. one of these have to be the annunaki planet
Comment icon #12 Posted by ROGER 9 years ago
X in mathematics = unknown value to find .
Comment icon #13 Posted by coolguy 9 years ago
Why can't they point the Hubble out there and take some pics, I'm sure it's there
Comment icon #14 Posted by psyche101 9 years ago
Considering we feel the Oort cloud, while hypothetical is expected to be filled with Icy bodies, some bigger than Pluto, it does not see in the realm of science fiction. Be interesting to see what they find. I wonder if New Horizons could help with the inquiry?
Comment icon #15 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
Why can't they point the Hubble out there and take some pics, I'm sure it's there The Hubble is actually rather a small telescope, it would only see a dot. It would prove nothing.


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