A team of astronomers have found new evidence that suggests there may be a ninth planet lurking in the outer reaches of our solar system. The planet, which has been dubbed “Planet Nine,” is thought to be about 10 times the mass of Earth and could be located between 200 and 1,000 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun.
The evidence for Planet Nine comes from the study of the orbits of several trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), which are icy bodies that orbit the Sun beyond the orbit of Neptune. These TNOs have been found to have highly elliptical orbits that are tilted to the plane of the solar system.
The researchers believe that these strange orbits could be explained by the gravitational pull of a massive planet. If Planet Nine exists, it would be the first new planet to be discovered in our solar system since Neptune was discovered in 1846.
The team of astronomers who conducted the study are using the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) to search for Planet Nine. The LSST is a powerful telescope that is expected to begin operations in 2023.
If Planet Nine is found, it will shed new light on the formation and evolution of our solar system. It will also provide a new target for astronomers to study.
Here are some additional details about the possible ninth planet:
- It is thought to be about 10 times the mass of Earth.
- It could be located between 200 and 1,000 AU from the Sun.
- It would have an extremely elongated orbit, taking anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 years to complete one orbit around the Sun.
- It is thought to be made up of mostly ice and rock.
- It is possible that Planet Nine could have a moon or two.
The search for Planet Nine is ongoing, and it is possible that it may never be found. However, the evidence that has been gathered so far is tantalizing, and it suggests that there may be a new world waiting to be discovered in the outer reaches of our solar system.