Planet Nine: Full Story & Must-See Photos Of The New Planet

Planet Nine Full Story

This morning Cal Tech researchers Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin announced they believe that they have discovered “Planet Nine,” a ninth planet previously undiscovered that’s been hiding in our solar system. Its existence would help explain the strange orbits of various dwarf planets and objects around the sun. [lead image via Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)]

Technically Mike and Konstantin’s paper, lovingly titled “Evidence for a Distant Giant Planet In The Solar System” is not officially published, but some experts in the astronomy community already agree with the Cal Tech scientists.

Alessandro Morbidelli, an orbital-dynamics specialist at the University of the Côte d’Azur in Nice, France, who has reviewed the paper in detail, says he is “quite convinced” that the planet exists [source].

Let’s take a look at what we think we know about Planet Nine so far:


Planet Nine Theory

Kuiper Belt

The theory behind Planet Nine’s discovery began a couple of years ago, when scientists began discovering dwarf planets and objects in an area known as the Kuiper Belt that had strange orbits. The Kuiper Belt (as you can see above) is a section of space in the outer solar system beyond Neptune (the blue planet on the bottom left).

It was theorized that these newly discovered objects (pictured in the graphic below)–Stella, Eres, and Biden–acted in such a manner because of the gravitational effect an unknown planet (earlier known as “Planet X”) had on them.

Planet-nine

Brown and Batygin hypothesized that the only way possible these objects (and dozens of others) could be acting this way is if another planet’s gravity was responsible. After running some computer simulations and calculations, they concluded that the only possible explanation would be the existence of Planet Nine.


Planet Nine Information

Planet Nine is informally known as “Phattie” because of its relatively large mass for it’s size. The Cal Tech researchers estimate that Planet Nine is five to ten times more massive than Earth, a size that astronomers call a Super Earth.

Planet Nine is probably smaller than Neptune, icy and surrounded by a gassy layer. Batygin says that “the gravitational effect of Uranus and Neptune would have flung it outward in the first 3 million years of the Solar System’s existence.” That would explain its distance from the sun.


Planet Nine Photos & Images

Remember that Planet Nine is a new discovery / theory, so there aren’t as many photos or images as you’d like to see. Batygin and Brown believe that the first pictures of the new planet will be discovered sometime in the next few years once the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope in Chile begins working. The reason it will take so long is the large distance Planet Nine has from the sun.

That being said, please take a look at our collection of all the visuals available in the post below:

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