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Scientists Searching for Mysterious Ninth Planet

First Posted: Apr 06, 2016 06:08 AM EDT
Unknown Ninth Planet
There could be a new addition to the number of known planets in the solar system.
(Photo : NASA/JPL-Caltech)

There could be a huge planet lurking in the outer solar system that is numerous times bigger than the Earth. Evidence of the existence of the mysterious world, termed Planet Nine, was first presented by two planetary scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

The Cassini spacecraft, which orbits Saturn, helped to find further link this month that connects to the theory of a missing planet. In fact, researchers now believe that within a year more breakthroughs will be made in discovering the hidden planet. The proof will have a tremendous impact on the way we view the solar system and our position in the cosmos. "Evidence is mounting that something unusual is out there - there's a story that's hard to explain with just the standard picture," said David Gerdes, University of Michigan cosmologist. 

Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, two California Caltech scientists, had put forward the theory of Planet Nine's existence, based on the speculative gravitational effect it had on numerous Kuiper Belt objects, icy bodies rotating around the sun just outside Neptune's orbit. The theory was further researched by French astronomer Agnès Fienga, to see if the possibility of there being a Planet Nine better explained the disturbance studied in Cassini's orbit, because all the other planets in the solar system or asteroids do not really account for it. Hence, it was speculated that the ninth planet could be the missing clue to the puzzle.

The study further implied that Planet Nine might be located towards the Cetus constellation, which means that it can be traced with the help of the Dark Energy Survey, a project developed to investigate the acceleration of the universe. Apart from this, it could also be possible to detect the missing planet with its own millimeter-wavelength light emitted due to internal heat radiation. Meanwhile, Brown and Batygin are working on more surveys and studies that will help determine the position and existence of Planet Nine.

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