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Hunt for Planet Nine continues in earnest

Posted on Wednesday, 5 April, 2017 | Comment icon 7 comments

Could a whole planet lie undiscovered in the outer solar system ? Image Credit: NASA
Astronomers from around the world have been combining their efforts to seek out the new planet.
Believed to be up to ten times the mass of the Earth and with an orbital period of up to 20,000 years, this enigmatic world has been the subject of intense debate ever since researchers at the California Institute of Technology first revealed that its existence might actually be a very real possibility.

Last year, planetary scientists Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin created a mathematical model indicating that a Neptune-sized object in the outer solar system could be influencing the movements of six smaller Kuiper Belt objects which appeared to be behaving rather oddly.

Since then, astronomers from around the world have been gazing skyward in an attempt to locate the new planet and now, thanks to observations made by the SkyMapper telescope in Australia, a total of four new unknown objects have been identified in the outer solar system.

"We've managed to rule out a planet about the size of Neptune being in about 90 percent of the southern sky out to a depth of about 350 times the distance the Earth is from the sun," said lead researcher Brad Tucker from the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

"With the help of tens of thousands of dedicated volunteers sifting through hundreds of thousands of images taken by SkyMapper, we have achieved four years of scientific analysis in under three days."

Efforts are now underway to study these new objects in more detail.

Source: Space.com | Comments (7)

Tags: Planet Nine

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Merc14 on 5 April, 2017, 15:18
I think we will find it soon given all the tech and man-hours being thrown at the problem
Comment icon #2 Posted by seanjo on 5 April, 2017, 18:16
My understanding is it is so far away there will be no light reflection from its surface/atmosphere, so this is going to be very very hard to find. I suspect any resolution will involve an estimate of where it is....until we can get a probe out there.
Comment icon #3 Posted by glorybebe on 5 April, 2017, 18:20
This brings to mind a book I read a long time ago that stated there was another planet, but it was on the other side of the sun so we could not see it. Supposedly in the future it would become visible due to its rotation around the sun would catch up to Earth's. It always made me wonder if some astrologer could have had something there.
Comment icon #4 Posted by seanjo on 5 April, 2017, 18:29
I think you mean Astronomer...
Comment icon #5 Posted by glorybebe on 5 April, 2017, 18:37
No. I think Astrologer. It had to do with Astrology. I can't remember thebook name, but it was an Astrology book. I guess I could have mentioned it
Comment icon #6 Posted by paperdyer on 5 April, 2017, 19:41
So I guess Pluto's planetary status is still revoked. A few months ago it sounded pretty good for being returned.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Noxasa on 6 April, 2017, 1:10
All the doomsayers who have warned of world destruction for so long have essentially discredited this concept to that point that I can't really get behind it. I really doubt there's this planet out there. If they have suggested it exists by scientific means then they should know exactly where it is. A huge invisible planet just seems silly to me.

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