Good evidence for 9th planet in solar system This artistic rendering provided by California Institute of Technology shows the distant view from Planet Nine back towards the sun. (R. Hurt/Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/Courtesy of California Institute of Technology via AP/Thinkstock)
Good evidence for 9th planet in solar system
Lexile

Scientists have reported they finally have "good evidence" for Planet X. It may be a true ninth planet on the fringes of our solar system.
 
The gas giant is thought to be almost as big as Neptune and orbiting billions of miles beyond Neptune's path. That's distant enough to take 10,000 to 20,000 years to circle the sun.
 
This Planet 9, as the two California Institute of Technology researchers call it, hasn't been spotted yet. They base their findings on mathematical and computer modeling. They anticipate its discovery via telescope within five years or less.
 
The two reported on their research Jan. 20 in the Astronomical Journal. They want people to help them look for it.
 
"We could have stayed quiet and quietly spent the next five years searching the skies ourselves. But I would rather somebody find it sooner, than me find it later," astronomer Mike Brown told The Associated Press.
 
"I want to see it. I want to see what it looks like. I want to understand where it is. And I think this will help."
 
Once it's detected, Brown insists there will be no Pluto-style planetary debate. Brown ought to know. He's the so-called Pluto killer.  He helped lead the charge against Pluto's planetary status in 2006. (It's now officially considered a dwarf planet.)
 
His colleague in this latest Planet 9 report is also from Caltech in Pasadena. He is planetary scientist Konstantin Batygin.
 
"For the first time in more than 150 years, there's good evidence that the planetary census of the solar system is incomplete," Batygin said. He was referring to Neptune's discovery as Planet 8.
 
The two shaped their prediction on the fact that six objects in the icy Kuiper Belt, or Twilight Zone on the far reaches of the solar system, appear to be influenced by only one thing. They believe it is a real planet.
 
Brown actually discovered one of these six objects more than a decade ago. It is called Sedna. It's a large minor planet way out there on the solar system frontier.
 
"This is a prediction. What we have found is a gravitational signature of Planet 9 lurking in the outskirts of the solar system," Batygin said. "We have not found the object itself," he stressed. He said that the actual discovery, when it happens, will be "era-defining."
 
Added Brown: "We have felt a great disturbance in the force."
 
Depending on where this Planet 9 is in its egg-shaped orbit, a space telescope may be needed to confirm its presence the researchers said. Or good backyard telescopes may spot it, they noted.  That is if the planet is relatively closer to us in its swing around the sun. It's an estimated 20 billion to 100 billion miles from us.
 
The Caltech researchers prefer to call it Planet 9. That is instead of the historical term Planet X. The latter smacks of "aliens and the imminent destruction of the Earth," according to Brown.
 
The orb is believed to be 10 times more massive than Earth and 5,000 times more massive than dwarf Pluto. It may well have rings and moons.
 
The last real planet to be discovered in our solar system was Neptune in 1846. Pluto, discovered in 1930, was once the 9th planet. But is now considered a dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt. It was visited by Earth for the first time last July. NASA's New Horizons spacecraft accomplished the first-ever flyby.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why wasn't this planet discovered before?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (140)
  • makailab-rob
    1/28/2016 - 10:12 a.m.

    The nineth planet is in its egg-shaped orbit.It's estimated 20 billion to 100 billion miles from us.The orb is believed to be 10 times more massive than Earth and 5,000 times more massive than dwarf Pluto

  • nathanielj-rob
    1/28/2016 - 10:12 a.m.

    This palnet wasnt discovered before because nobody has ever seen it. THis article tell us hwo there are still alot of thing to be discovered in our universe. It just gose to show you theres always something out there that we can learn.

  • EH-Fuh
    1/28/2016 - 11:18 a.m.

    This planet wasn't discovered before because there wasn't enough technology to pick up something never seennthen but there is now.

  • austinh-ver
    1/28/2016 - 01:12 p.m.

    A new planet is there anything cooler than that! Very far away so it will be hard to study but its still pretty cool.

  • lamontv-wes
    1/28/2016 - 02:28 p.m.

    The new planet is prombly going to be behind the sun.

  • hunterd8-tho
    1/28/2016 - 02:48 p.m.

    I think they didn't find the ninth planet because,it's so far from earth they probably never noticed it was there.

  • demetriuss-wes
    1/28/2016 - 02:56 p.m.

    The cool to think ofa new planet.

  • taylorp-1-bar
    1/28/2016 - 06:45 p.m.

    This planet was not discovered before because of its distance. When scientist Mike Brown was discussing the objects around the planet it states, " Brown actually discovered one of these six objects a more than a decade ago. It is called Sedna. It's a large minor planet way out there on the solar system frontier."(paragraph 11). This quote explains the location of one of the objects orbiting around Planet Nine. This shows that Planet Nine, as well as its orbiting objects, is very far out of the solar system, which makes it hard to see. I enjoyed this article because I am interested in knowing about the ninth planet.

  • John0724-YYCA
    1/28/2016 - 07:26 p.m.

    Wow these are some good evidence that this planet X should be the planet 9 which makes my brain work that is planet X should be a real planet. Well I think that it should be a real planet because It is not small like Pluto because the people said tat it's 5,000 times bigger but then it does take 10,000 year to 20,000 years to orbit the sun in a form of an egg. I really do want to see this planet in real life and all the other planets but then I have to be an astronaut. I just wonder if there a planets out there waiting to be part of our solar system and maybe that planet maybe the key to new planets to live on.

  • caymanm-2-bar
    1/28/2016 - 08:51 p.m.

    The planet wasn't discovered before because it takes around 10,000 to 20,000 years to orbit the sun. They probably didn't see it because it wasn't close enough. The article says the gas giant is "... orbiting billions of miles beyond Neptune's path." This planet is very far away and hard to see, even with advanced telescopes. I thought this article was interesting because a new planet will be a huge discovery.

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