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Planet Nine: New Evidence Shows More about the Ninth Planet in Our Solar System

First Posted: Feb 26, 2016 07:45 AM EST

There may be a ninth planet in our solar system. Now, scientists are using observations from the Cassini spacecraft to specify the possible position of this planet.

The Kuiper Belt objects are small bodies that are similar to Pluto and beyond. They have a particular distribution that is difficult to explain by pure chance. That's why researchers suggested the existence of a ninth planet that could have a gravitation force that lead to the unusual distributions seen in the Kuiper Belt.

Finding this planet, though is another matter entirely. The researchers took a closer look at the distribution of Kuiper Belt objects and also examined data from the Cassini spacecraft. This revealed that depending on the position of the planet from its perihelion, the ninth planet induces perturbations in the orbit of Saturn that can be detected by analyzing radio data from Cassini.

So what does this mean? It's very likely that the ninth planet does exist. While this doesn't give an exact position for the planet, it helps narrow down its eccentric orbit a bit more. However, direct observations are still needed before scientists can definitively confirm that a ninth planet does, in fact, exist.

The findings are published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

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