by Graham Pierrepoint
The speculation over another celestial body existing in our solar system remains to be confirmed – it’s been ongoing ever since Pluto was discovered, and then discredited – and along the way, during various discussions surrounding potential hidden planets that could be affecting orbits of other bodies, the presence of a new ninth planet has never really been ruled out. This week, space-heads will likely be very excited to hear that such talk has ramped up a gear – as NASA is keen to advise that they apparently have new evidence of sorts to suggest that such a hidden sphere is just beyond our eyeline.
NASA has this week revealed that the lack of a ninth planet in our line-up would be highly unlikely – and that if it does exist, and NASA are obviously keen to insist it does – it is likely to be both colossal and hidden away, potentially 20 times the distance Neptune is away from our Sun. This means that we are essentially on the hunt for a planetary giant that is hiding in the darkness, in the cold recesses of the galaxy – barely registering on any scales.
Konstantin Batygin is a Pasadena-based astrophysicist who advises that there are many different pieces of evidence pointing to Planet Nine’s existence. He and fellow astronomer Mike Brown have previously authored findings on the hypothetical orb, and are now keen to suggest that taking the planet out of their hypotheses and research in fact creates more problems – that the presence of Planet Nine will effectively resolve multiple lines of space-related query in one fell swoop. What’s left? We simply need to find it!
Evidence found during observation of planet tilting and the Kuiper Belt have made astronomers take more and more curious routes towards finding this elusive body. Planet Nine has always been out there as a hypothetical beast – even when we were still referring to Pluto as a planet – and with its presence suggesting several answers for many current space-based conundrums, astronomers are growing ever more excited about the search.
Possibly the biggest search going on right now in terms of scale, Planet Nine simply needs to unveil itself – and only then, can we name it. All bets are off for either ‘Planet McPlanetface’ or ‘Covfefe’ – but do put faith in NASA finding another member of the solar system neighborhood in the years to come, if not sooner.