Possible Ninth Planet in the Outer Solar System

By Shannon Bohman ’19

Mauna_Kea.jpg

The Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii is leading the search for the ninth planet.

Planetary scientists, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, of the California Institute of Technology, claim to have solid evidence of a new, ninth planet in our solar system. This planet, like other objects in space, is too far to be observed directly. Instead, its existence has been inferred. Six predetermined bodies on the outskirts of our solar system that are roughly the size of Neptune seem to be moving under the influence of the gravity of this planet, which may be anywhere from 600 to 1200 astronomical units away. If this planet does exist, its size, distance, and wildly elliptical orbit would shatter scientists’ preconceptions of planetary formation. Currently, astronomers are turning to the world’s largest telescopes in an attempt to directly see this planet. This is no easy task, given its enormous distance from Earth.

 

References:

  1. Image acquired from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauna_Kea#/media/File:Mauna_Kea_observatory.jpg

       2. Hand, Number 9. Science (2016).

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