By Simon Tubey
Astronomers in WA and across the globe are excited about a recent theory that reveals the possible existence of a new planet in our outer solar system.
Planet Nine was ‘discovered’ through mathematical modelling and simulations by Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown from The California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
“Right now, with Planet Nine, we are in a kind of limbo where the theory predicts a planet and now we just need to wait for it to be discovered, or for new data to be collected that points in another direction,” said Dr Scott Kenyon from the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
The new planet is believed to be an ice giant 10-times more massive than Earth and four times the radius.
Astronomers think that the strange elliptical orbit of Planet Nine may have been as a result of some of our larger planets like Jupiter or Saturn throwing the planet far out into its strange orbit when the solar system was created.
“They’ve taken observations from our solar system, from an area called ‘The Kuiper Belt’. It’s very similar to the asteroid belt, but it’s made up of icy bodies as well as rocky bodies,” says Matt Woods, who is an amateur astronomer and media and marketing coordinator at Perth Observatory.
Mr Woods told The Bounce News that because Planet Nine moves so slowly it is hard to locate with today’s technology but, through constant research and mathematical modelling, astronomers are confident they will pinpoint the mysterious planet’s location.
Perth Observatory hopes to join the rest of the science community with their eyes-to-the skies in order to help find out more about this illusive planet.
While the groundbreaking discovery is still in its early stages of research there are undeniably exciting times ahead for astronomers and space enthusiasts alike as another planet is welcomed into our solar system.
Here’s Perth Observatory’s Matt Woods discussing the technical side of Planet Nine.