Astronomers had been on the hunt for the ninth planet of the Solar System for quite a while. Pluto lost that status a long time ago, in 2006 when it was downgraded only to the state of a dwarf planet.
But scientists suspect for a few years that there has to be another planet beyond the orbit of Neptune. One of the reasons for believing so is represented by the close clustering of objects in the Kuiper Belt.
Movements of objects from the Kuiper Belt point to Planet Nine’s existence
According to Hawaii News, some evidence emerges for the existence of the long-debated Planet Nine. Astrophysicist Konstantin Batygin and astronomer Michael Brown had been taking a closer look at the Solar System using the Subaru Telescope.
The two scientists are now extremely confident that the peculiar movements in the Kuiper Belt are caused by a large object that hasn’t been discovered yet. As you’ve already guessed, Planet Nine becomes the ideal candidate.
Brown and Batygin even started to run some simulations, and they found that Planet Nine must be a gas giant featuring an icy and rocky core. Also, the hypothetical planet should be roughly six times more massive than Earth.
But there will still be sceptics out there saying out loud, “well, you still didn’t discover the planet yet!”. And that’s entirely fine! Michael Brown declared for National Geographic the following:
I think it’s within a year or two from being found,
I’ve made that statement every year for the past five years. I am super-optimistic.
For the moment and whether we like it or not, the officially recognized eight planets from our Solar System are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
The new study will be published in The Astronomical Journal.