Since its discovery at the beginning of this year, the mysterious ‘Planet Nine’ has had scientists looking for the signs that could confirm its existence.
Now, astronomer Mike Brown of Caltech, one of the scientists behind the January announcement, claims he’s found further evidence to support it.
The giant hidden planet is thought to sit on the edge of our solar system and is 10 times more massive than the Earth, gaseous, and similar to Uranus or Neptune.
Last week, Mike Brown tweeted a photo that shows the plot of a newly discovered eccentric Kuiper Belt Object (KBO).
In the post, Brown wrote,: Hey Planet Nine fans, a new eccentric KBO was discovered. And it is exactly where Planet Nine says it should be.’
The KBO in question is ‘uo3L91,’ shown with a solid blue line in the graph. Brown writes that the slide comes from a recent talk at the Seti Institute.
This discovery was made from an Outer Solar System Origins Survey (OSSOS) on the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, according to a subsequent tweet.
Planet Nine is oriented oppositely from the other planets, the astronomer explains, so it is off of the graph, and to the right.
‘I haven’t done the statistics yet, but I suspect this takes the probability of this being a statistical fluke down to ~.001% or so,’ Brown tweeted.
While no conclusive evidence of its existence has emerged so far, a number of researchers have undertaken their own studies on the possible planet, which is referred to as Planet Nine or Planet X.
The most convincing so far is a recent study by scientists at the University of Arizona, who looked at the high eccentricity of distant Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs).
They suggest their strange orbital paths reveal that these objects crossed paths with Planet Nine at some point.
Scientists believe Planet Nine traces a highly elongated orbit and takes between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one journey around the sun.
Planet Nine is, on average, about 20 times further from the sun than Neptune, which orbits at a distance of about 2.8 billion miles.
Back in January, its existence was inferred from the gravitational influence it has on several Kuiper Belt objects with highly unusual orbits.
The clinching evidence came from a prediction that a ninth planet would result in Kuiper Belt objects having orbits inclined perpendicularly to the plane of the planets.
In the last three years, four objects were found that behaved in this way.
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