Mysterious “Planet X” suspected to orbit beyond Pluto… Story By: Mack Jastle
On Wednesday, January 20, 2016, two scientists presented evidence that a large planet with the mass of around ten Earths is orbiting in our solar system past Pluto.
The scientists responsible for these new findings, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, are respected planetary scientists, and they believe they’ve found Planet X. After examining the orbits of multiple distant objects and running countless computer simulations, the pair are convinced that Planet X exists.
Notably, Mike Brown was one of the scientists who got Pluto demoted to the status of dwarf planet.
“Killing Pluto was fun, but this is head and shoulders above everything else,” Brown stated.
Other scientists outside the project verified the calculations, and many are experiencing an odd mix of skepticism and cautious excitement over the discovery.
You may be asking, how is it that we haven’t discovered this planet sooner? After all, if it’s as massive as ten Earths put together, a planet of that size would be pretty easy to spot, right?
Well, not exactly.
There isn’t actually any photographic evidence of the new planet. Brown and Batygin inferred it’s presence from the unusual orbits of six objects clustered beyond Neptune. Their theory is that a large planet brought the six objects into where they orbit now. The pair say that there’s only a one in 15,000, or 0.007% chance that the orbits of these objects are a coincidence.
If Planet X truly does exist, it would shatter preconceived notions of our solar system. The closest possible approach for this planet to the Sun would be 200 astronomical units (AU). (An AU is the distance from the Earth to the Sun, so 150 million kilometers.) This is seven times further than the orbit of Neptune, and calculations show that it could roam as far out as 600-1200 AU, far beyond the Kuiper Belt.
As of yet there is no concrete evidence that Planet X actually exists, just a theory.
“Until there’s a direct detection, it’s a hypothesis-even a potentially very good hypothesis,” Brown stated. The team has secured a large telescope in Hawaii to search for the hypothetical planet, and their hope is that other astronomers will be inspired to join in the search.
Now, with this discovery of a possible ninth planet, (ninth due to Pluto’s unfortunate demotion) the doomsday rumor mill has gone into overdrive.
Theories of an unknown planet (named Planet X or Nibiru), crashing into the Earth have been a popular topic of conversation for internet conspiracy theorists for a long time.
Originally, Planet X was supposed to deal the killing blow in 2003, but that date was amended to December 21, 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar and the date of the winter solstice. However, the world kept on spinning, and general awareness of Planet X died off.
However, this new discovery has people convinced that the planet is real, and that it’s heading our way. There has been rampant speculation that NASA has been hiding the truth about Planet X from the public for years.
NASA has gone on record to completely deny these rumors.
Regardless of whether or not it will end up causing our extinction, the discovery of a possible ninth planet in our solar system (Sorry Pluto), is a huge deal.