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According to some scientists
Astronomers have never seen a hidden planet that may be lurking at the edges of our solar system. Scientists believe that this planet is almost invisible and could be up to 20 times further away from the Sun than Neptune, making it impossible to see with current technology.
Space expert Sara Webb
From Swinburne University in Australia, explains that astronomers have already pinpointed all eight main planets in our solar system, as well as several “dwarf planets” such as Pluto. However, the search continues for the mysterious ninth planet, which is thought to exist far beyond Neptune.
Webb writes in The Conversation that there is a lot of evidence to suggest that this giant, hidden planet exists. The planet is believed to be 10 times larger than Earth and to have an orbit that takes 10,000 to 20,000 years to complete.
One of the reasons scientists are spending hundreds of hours trying to locate this planet
Also known as Planet Nine or Planet X, is because our solar system doesn’t make sense without it. Webb explains that our understanding of gravitational pull gives us the biggest clue for a possible Planet Nine. Astronomers observe that distant objects, such as dwarf planets beyond Pluto, exhibit unexpected orbits – characterized by large elliptical paths, clustering, and inclinations relative to the rest of the solar system. To investigate the reasons for these peculiar orbits, astronomers employ computer models to simulate the necessary gravitational forces. The models reveal that an object with a mass at least 10 times that of Earth must have influenced these dwarf planets to move in this way.
Previously, Professor Konstantin Batygin from the California Institute of Technology suggested that not only does Planet Nine exist, but it could be five times the size of Earth. He believes that Planet Nine is likely to be very reminiscent of a typical extrasolar super-Earth, which are rocky bodies like our planet, but much, much larger.
Planet Nine is likely extremely dim since it is so far from the Sun, and astronomers may take up to 1,000 years to spot it. Some researchers believe that there might be a huge disc of icy objects out there instead.
Is optimistic that we could find Planet Nine sooner rather than later, thanks to a new generation of space telescopes. However, there are unique challenges to spotting the object. There are only small windows of nights where the conditions must be just right, and specifically, we have to wait for a night with no moon, and on which the location we’re observing from is facing the right part of the sky.
We will have the opportunity to prove or disprove whether Planet Nine exists in the next decade as we build new telescopes and begin new surveys of the sky. If it does, it could help us better understand the formation and evolution of our solar system.