Planet Nine: Pluto’s replacement

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Planet Nine: Pluto’s replacement

Sharia Williamson, Staff Writer

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We have all heard the debate of whether or not Pluto is truly a planet. The debate has been building on itself ever since 1930, when an American astronomer first discovered Pluto. There are many critics who claim that Pluto is not a planet, and say it should be considered a “moon”, or a dwarf planet called a “plutoid”. But it seems that Pluto now has a replacement, as it is believed that there is a new planet in our solar system.

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology believe that they have found evidence and proof of an object that may be a real ninth planet in the outer solar system. This “object” or “planet” has been nicknamed Planet Nine. Caltech has released a statement about the planet saying, “It has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun. It would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just a single orbit around the sun.”

Two of the researchers who helped discover this “planet”, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, have not actually seen the planet, but they have collected more and more research over time. This research states that they found certain objects and debris in the Kuiper Belt, a field of icy objects and debris beyond Neptune, that had orbits that peculiarly pointed in the same direction. After a period of time, the mathematical and computer simulation led the researchers to believe that an undiscovered “planet” was causing the exertion of gravity necessary to create these orbits. Brown states, “There have only been two true planets that have been discovered since ancient times, and this would be a third. It’s a pretty substantial chunk of our solar system that’s still out there to be found, which is pretty exciting.”

The researchers are all confident in this “planet”, they highly believe that Planet Nine is large enough to rule out any debate about whether it’s a true planet, unlike Pluto. There are high chances of the researchers being able to find the planet as the telescopes can zoom to the range that the location of Planet Nine is believed to be. Brown says he would love to be involved in finding the planet he helped discover, but he says, “I’d be perfectly happy if someone else found it. That is why we are publishing this paper in hopes that other people get inspired and start searching.”

There has been no more information released as far as Planet Nine, but the researches remain hopeful of the existence of this far off planet and will continue doing more and more research, until they can prove what Planet Nine truly is.

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