Planet Nine: What is it?

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admin November 8, 2021
Updated 2021/11/08 at 10:28 AM

The International Astronomical Union shattered many hearts when it revealed in August 2006 that Pluto had been reclassified as a minor planet. The conclusion was made based on Pluto’s size and the fact that it is located in a zone with other objects of comparable size. Ceres, Pluto, Eris, Makemake, and Haumea are the five dwarf planets currently known.

Scientists have maintained their hunt for new planets, and in 2016, Konstantin Batygin and Michael E. Brown, both of the California Institute of Technology, released an article in The Astronomical Journal claiming to have evidence for a distant massive planet they dubbed Planet Nine. It may have a mass of approximately ten times that of Earth, according to the researchers.

“Although we were first dubious that this planet could exist, as we studied its orbit and what it would imply for the outer solar system, we grew more persuaded that it does,” said Dr. Batygin, an assistant professor of planetary science, in a statement. “There is strong evidence that the solar system’s planetary census is incomplete for the first time in over 150 years.”

The team continues to research the planet and released two articles in 2019 about its orbit and impact on other objects.

“The most distant objects in the solar system that we know of are being somewhat pulled by some gravitational forces; as far as we can tell, the only conceivable explanation is a huge planet out there,” Dr. Brown said in an email to indianexpress.com. He is the author of the book “How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming,” which was one of the researchers that assisted in the reclassification of Pluto.

Planet Nine, according to new computer simulations, may have five Earth masses. In a press release, Dr. Batygin said, “Planet Nine is expected to be quite similar to a normal extrasolar super-Earth.” “Planet Nine will be the closest thing we have to a window into the characteristics of a normal planet in our galaxy,” says the author.

Is Planet 9 a supermassive black hole?

Planet Nine has been studied by researchers from all over the world, and there are many hypotheses concerning it, including one that claims Planet Nine is a black hole. The unknown object producing aberrant orbits of trans-Neptunian objects maybe a primordial black hole, according to a study published last year in Physical Review Letters.

Another research published in The Astronomical Journal in 2018 added to the evidence supporting Planet Nine’s existence. It was observed that a trans-Neptunian asteroid known as 2015 BP519 had an odd trajectory due to the high gravity of Planet Nine.

“When we performed a simulation without Planet Nine, we discovered it was extremely difficult to create things like BP519.” Juliette Becker, the main author, told The Indian Express at the time. We discovered that making things like BP519 was extremely simple when we performed a separate simulation that included Planet Nine.”

What is the new discovery?

Last month, Dr. Brown tweeted that he had “the treasure map” to Planet Nine. “Five and a half years after proposing Planet Nine’s existence, we have finally completed what is probably the most essential job in assisting the search: we now know where to look,” he said on his blog.

Planet Nine has a mass of 6.2 (+2.2/-1.3) Earth masses, according to a study published on arXiv. Planet Nine’s semimajor axis, inclination, and perihelion are all detailed in the article.

The data only informs us of the orbital route of Planet Nine, not where it is in the orbital path, according to Dr. Brown in his tweet. “It’s more likely to be at its furthest distance from the sun, but that’s just because it moves slower there. But here is the place to look,” he said on Twitter.

“Our best estimate is that it originated in the region of Uranus and Neptune and ultimately came too near to Jupiter or Saturn, which hurled it out into the far reaches of our solar system,” he said when asked whether there were any theories about how Planet Nine was created.

The team is continuing its research, and the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, which is presently being built in Chile, will aid in the search for Planet Nine. Dr. Brown adds, “The observatory will scan the sky night after night and ultimately discover many things, including — hopefully — Planet Nine.”

Is everyone certain that Planet Nine is real?

Since 2016, researchers have determined that there is increasing evidence that Planet Nine exists, that it does not exist, or that it may be a black hole. The unknown object producing aberrant orbits of trans-Neptunian objects maybe a primordial black hole, according to a study published last year in Physical Review Letters.

On the other hand, research published in The Astronomical Journal in 2018 claimed new evidence supporting Planet Nine’s existence. It was observed that a trans-Neptunian asteroid known as 2015 BP519 had an odd trajectory due to the high gravity of Planet Nine.

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