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Planet Nine: Mysterious ‘Massive’ World In The Solar System Will Be Discovered Soon, Scientists Say

First Posted: Oct 21, 2016 05:40 AM EDT
Planet Nine
Planet Nine, which has been perplexing scientists from the time its existence was suggested, is now being said to be a rogue world that was captured by our star system. (Image used for representation only.)
(Photo : Caltech/Getty Images)

The elusive Planet Nine, a hypothetical giant world that is thought to be 10 times the size of Earth, will reportedly be discovered within 16 months as per a scientist's prediction. The statement was made by astronomer Mike Brown, who put forth his viewpoint at a joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) and American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) recently.

"I am pretty sure, I think, that by the end of next winter - not this winter, next winter - I think that there will be enough people looking for it that, somebody is actually going to track this down," Brown said. At the "next one of these [DPS-EPSC meetings], we will be talking about finding Planet Nine instead of just looking for it." The astronomer also added that eight to 10 teams are presently searching for the planet. Incidentally, Brown who is associated with Pasadena's California Institute of Technology (Caltech) was among the first to suggest evidence for the planet's existence.

The existence of the mysterious planet, also called Planet X, was first proposed in 2014 by astronomers Chadwick Trujillo and Scott Sheppard. Earlier this year, in January, the possibility of the putative planet existing got a further momentum when Brown found the first shards of evidence. An inexplicable source was said to be found influencing the orbits of a few distant objects, and was attributed to the ninth planet. In the past nine months, scientists have found some more occurrences in the solar system that could imply the existence of Planet Nine.

Just three days ago, on October 18, a team from the University of Arizona announced that the elusive planet appeared to have tilted the orbits of all the eight known planets in the solar system by six degrees relative to the sun. As per Brown, the most likely location for finding Planet X would be at or near aphelion, in a part of the sky measuring 400 square degrees, at a distance of about 1,000 AU from the sun.

The astronomer also added that Planet Nine, with its massive size would have a magnitude of about +25 on astronomers' brightness scale, which is well within the range of giant telescopes. According to Brown, the Subaru telescope in Hawaii's Mauna Kea is ideal for conducting the search. For now, it seems, we can only wait and watch for further announcements.

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