‘Planet Nine’ : The missing Super-Earth in our Solar System according to NASA!

‘Planet Nine’ : The missing Super-Earth in our Solar System according to NASA!

Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division is excited about the lost planet of our solar system!

The elusive ‘ Planet Nine ‘ does exist, and may be 10 times the mass of the Earth and 20 times away from the Sun than Neptune, NASA scientists say.

Planet Nine could turn out to be our solar system’s missing ‘super Earth’ — a planet with a mass higher than the Earth’s, but substantially lower than the masses of ice giants Uranus and Neptune.

The signs so far are indirect, mainly its gravitational footprints, but that adds up to a compelling case.

Proofs that Planet Nine exists

“There are now five different lines of observational evidence pointing to the existence of Planet Nine,” said Konstantin Batygin, a planetary astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in the U.S.

“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 Mr. Batygin.

Six known objects in the distant Kuiper Belt, a region of icy bodies stretching from Neptune outward towards interstellar space, all have elliptical orbits pointing in the same direction, researchers have said.

However, these orbits also are tilted the same way, about 30 degrees “downward”. As compared to the pancake-like plane within which the planets orbit the Sun, they added.

More objects tilted like it

Computer simulations of the solar system with Planet Nine included show there should be more objects tilted with respect to the solar plane.

The tilt would be on the order of 90 degrees.  The plane of the solar system and these objects formed an “X” when viewed edge-on.

Caltech graduate student, Elizabeth Bailey, showed that Planet Nine could have tilted the planets of our solar system during the last 4.5 billion years.

In the study published in the Astronomical Journal, researchers wondered why the plane in which the planets orbit is tilted about 6 degrees compared to the Sun’s equator.

“Over long periods of time, Planet Nine will make the entire solar-system plane precess or wobble, just like a top on a table,” Mr. Batygin said.

This is clinching evidence

The last telltale sign of Planet Nine’s presence involves the solar system’s contrarians. Objects from the Kuiper Belt that orbit in the opposite direction from everything else in the solar system, researchers  said.

Planet Nine’s orbital influence would explain why these bodies from the distant Kuiper Belt ended up “polluting” the inner Belt.

“No other model can explain the weirdness of these high- inclination orbits,” Mr. Batygin said.

“It turns out that Planet Nine provides a natural avenue for their generation. These things are results out of the solar system plane with help from Planet Nine. And also scatter inward by Neptune,” says Mr. Batygin.

“The possibility of a new planet is certainly an exciting one for me as a planetary scientist and for everyone!”. Said Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division.

“This is not, however, the detection or discovery of a new planet,” said Mr. Green.

“What we’re seeing is an early prediction on modelling from limited observations. It’s the start of a process that could lead to an exciting result,” he said.