For years, scientists have argued about whether or not Planet Nine exists, but now NASA says that it does.
The space agency points out five different pieces of evidence that show the mysterious world is real and says that pretending Planet Nine doesn’t exist makes more problems than it solves.
According to the Daily Mail, scientists are now trying to find Planet Nine by using the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii. They hope that if they find it, it will help them figure out where it came from.
Experts from Caltech came up with the idea of Planet Nine for the first time in 2014.
Even though the planet hasn’t been found yet, scientists think there is strong evidence that it exists.
Scientists think that the huge icy planet is ten times the size of Earth and 20 times farther from the sun than Neptune.
Planet Nine is thought to be a “super-Earth,” a type of big world that seems to be very common in the universe.
Dr. Konstantin Batygin, a planetary astrophysicist at Caltech in Pasadena whose team is getting close to finding Planet Nine, said, “There are now five different lines of observational evidence that point to the existence of Planet Nine.
“If you take away this explanation and pretend Planet Nine doesn’t exist, you create more problems than you solve.
“All of a sudden, you have five different puzzles, and you have to come up with five different theories to explain them.”
This artistic rendering shows the distant view from Planet Nine back toward the sun. (Photo / Caltech/R. Hurt)
In 2016, Batygin published a study that looked at the orbits of six objects in the Kuiper Belt. The Kuiper Belt is a faraway region of icy bodies that stretches from Neptune out into space.
His research showed that all of the objects had elliptical orbits that all pointed in the same direction and were tilted 30 degrees “downward” compared to the plane in which the eight planets circle the sun.
To find out more, the researchers used computer simulations of the solar system, which included Planet Nine, and showed that there should be more things tilted at 90 degrees to the plane of the eight planets.
The team found that five things that astronomers already knew fit the bill.
After this study, two more clues about Planet Nine came to light.
A second article by Batygin’s team, led by Elizabeth Bailey, showed that Planet Nine could have tilted the planets in our solar system over the last 4.5 billion years.
Batygin said, “Planet Nine will make the whole plane of the solar system spin or wobble over long periods of time, just like a top on a table.”
Lastly, the researchers show how the existence of Planet Nine could explain why objects in the Kuiper Belt orbit in the opposite direction of everything else in the solar system.
Batygin said, “No other model can explain how strange these orbits with a high tilt are. Planet Nine turns out to be a natural path for their generation.
“Planet Nine helped twist these things out of the plane of the solar system, and then Neptune spread them outward.”
But it’s feared that Planet Nine will destroy the solar system in the end by causing a terrible “death dance.”
It could one day hurtle through our solar system, sending planets “pinballing” into space or straight into the Sun.
Dr. Dimitri Veras of the Department of Physics said, “The existence of a massive planet far away could change the future of the solar system in a fundamental way.”
“The fate of the solar system would depend on how big Planet Nine is and how it moves around.”
We have about seven billion years to get ready for this terrible thing, which will happen when the Sun starts to die.
Researchers now hope to find Planet Nine itself using the “best tool” for the job, the Subaru Telescope at Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii.
Batygin said, “I think the fact that we found Planet Nine will tell us something about where it came from.”