Sorry, Pluto: Planet X May Be the New Ninth Planet in Our Solar System
My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine... X-mas cookies? Xanthias? ... Xanax?
— Science Channel (@ScienceChannel) January 20, 2016
Astronomers may have just discovered a brand new ninth planet (sorry Pluto). It’s dubbed “Planet X,” and it hit radars back in December when scientists and astronomers began theorizing about its existence and what that means for our system. However, a recent study conducted by Caltech professors Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin may confirm that Planet X meets the criteria for planethood.
Brown and Batygin arrived at these findings through their study of objects and bodies in space within the Kuiper belt, a collection of icy objects beyond Neptune’s orbit. They found that six of these objects “funneled around the sun” in a very specific pattern, essentially implying that Planet X has a gravitational pull of its own. It’s pulling these objects into its orbit.
If this holds true, then this represents a major finding: a brand new planet right in our own solar system. The interesting thing is that this planet orbits around the sun at a distance never before seen by scientists. For example, Neptune, the current record holder for longest orbit around the sun clocks in at 164 years for a complete orbit. Planet X? 15,000 years.
It’s fascinating to think that there’s been another planet hiding right under our noses. It was always there in our own solar system’s backyard. Moreover, the professors found out about its existence through its relationship to other space objects–how it relates to the things around it. Aside from being somewhat poetic, it’s also a precedent that we’ve run into before. It is, apparently, how we found out about the existence of Neptune.
So, folks. A brand new planet just waiting to be discovered and explored. How does that make you feel?
Anyone else miss Pluto? Yeah, me too.
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