Did you grow up believing there are 9 planets in the solar system? And then felt robbed by the downgrading of Pluto?
Fear not, for there still may be hope to bring back the magic number 9! Last month, January 2016, a new report has emerged that claims to have evidence of the existence of a Neptune-sized planet that orbits our Sun every 15,000 years. Despite being as yet unseen, the suspect may be found well beyond Pluto and may have a staggering mass of ten Earths.
The researchers say that there is an infinitesimal chance for them to be wrong. And, according to their peers, the math in on their side. Basically, what they did was looking at the objects that exist after Neptune and orbit at a strange angle, out of the plane of the solar system. And their calculation say that only a planet that behaves this way (eccentric orbit, out of the plane, perihelion 180º away from the other objects perihelia) and is that heavy (more than 10 Earths) can explain the other objects’ orbits and clustering. Although, calculating probability of planetary existence based only on assumed gravitational effects has led to false conclusions before, just saying…
Now, the funny part: the chap that tries to bring back up to 9 the number of our planets is none other but THE SAME GUY who killed Pluto, by his infamous name, Mike “The Planet Slayer” Brown. More on the story here, in Science.
Reference: Batygin K & Brown ME (20 January 2016). Evidence for a distant giant planet in the solar system. The Astronomical Journal, 151(2): 1-12, doi:10.3847/0004-6256/151/2/22. Article | FREE FULLTEXT PDF
By Neuronicus, 18 February 2016