Is Planet Nine real? We may have more than eight planets in our solar system, and it’s not because Pluto is getting reinstated.
In January, researchers Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin proposed that a possible ninth planet was orbiting on the outer edge of the solar system. They created a mathematical model that showed a distant, Neptune-sized planet might be influencing the orbital path of six smaller objects out in the Kuiper Belt.
“It’s almost like having six hands on a clock all moving at different rates, and when you happen to look up, they’re all in exactly the same place,” Brown said in a statement on January 20. “Basically it shouldn’t happen randomly. So we thought something else must be shaping these orbits.”
Now Brown and Batygin say they’ve found yet another one of these small objects, and it’s in the exact position their model predicts. This is even more evidence that Planet Nine really exists.
Astronomers have already cut the search area for Planet Nine in half. Now the race is on to find it and directly observe it.
And if Planet Nine has all the characteristics that Brown and Batygin think it does, there won’t be any debate about whether or not we should classify it as a true planet.