NASA Reveals Growing Evidence of Mysterious “Planet X” or “Super Earth”
American astronomers started documenting evidence back in 2016 to debunk theories claiming a mysterious ninth planet is lurking at the edge of our solar system. As they continued research, however, the opposite happened: they found growing evidence to support the existence of this mysterious Planet X.
This is good news for folks who were disappointed when Pluto lost its “ninth planet” title because a new ninth planet might exist after all!
NASA states in a press release that this planet could very well exist. Not only that, but researchers believe it might have a significant impact on the cosmos because it may be tilting the entire solar system to one side.
Don’t worry, NASA says this planet poses no risk in regards to colliding with Earth or causing damage.
The potential planet nine is far far away. It sits at the edge of the solar system about 20 times farther from the sun than Neptune. Planet X is also giant: like 10 times the mass of Earth. And it’s dark, very dark.
What’s the new evidence?
Researchers stumbled upon five key “breadcrumbs” that suggest this planet is very real:
- Gravitational pull.
- Discovery of six objects in the Kuiper Belt with elliptical orbits pointing in the same direction. Computer simulations show even more objects orbiting the same entity. (All together, these objects form an “x,” hence the name.)
- All of the above orbits tilt in the same direction. (As opposed to “pancake” style like planets rotate around the sun.)
- Something needs to explain what caused our planet’s tilt in relation to the sun’s equator. This is a long-standing mystery Planet X could solve.
- Objects in the Kuiper Belt orbit in the opposite direction than everything else in the solar system. Planet nine would explain why.
Konstantin Batygin and Michael Brown discovered all five of the breadcrumbs leading to the potential for the ninth planet’s existence. If Planet X doesn’t exist, then these five factors still need an explanation. As a result, this evidence helps prove the planet is real.
“If you were to remove this explanation and imagine Planet Nine does not exist, then you generate more problems than you solve. All of a sudden, you have five different puzzles, and you must come up with five different theories to explain them,” said Konstantin Batygin, a planetary astrophysicist at Caltech in Pasadena, California.
Planet X could be long-lost “super-Earth’
NASA isn’t sure where the planet came from and they don’t really care. Maybe it’s a fugitive or maybe it just got caught up in the sun’s gravitational pull.
Now, they’re just focused on trying to prove its existence. Next, researchers will use the powerful Subaru telescope at Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii.
Researchers say that over time, Planet X will cause the entire solar system to “wobble.” If real, NASA believes this could be the mysterious “super-Earth” they’ve been searching for.