For the past few years, astronomers have been assuring that there is a ninth planet at the outer limits of our solar system. However, despite their “strong evidence”, no one has yet found the celestial body.
Nevertheless, to date, there are several studies in the course of which it was found that other objects in our system are definitely influenced by a body. This effect is attributed to Planet X, which is also known as Planet Nine.
More recently, researchers at Yale University have begun to develop new ways to identify it. Scientists are going to look at the night sky with telescopes that use the “offset and combine” technique. The strategy involves shifting the resulting images along different orbital trajectories and then stitching all the photos together.
But even without physical evidence of the existence of a planet that should be behind Pluto, many astronomers are sure that it really is. Planet scientist from the California Institute of Technology Konstantin Batygin said that the probability of the planet’s reality is 99.9%. Other scientists who have worked with him and independently believe that Planet X is ten times the size of Earth and 20 times farther than Neptune. This means that it has a fairly large orbit, with one revolution around the Sun taking 10,000 to 20,000 years, Express reports.
Meanwhile, Yale astronomers Malena Rice and Greg Laughlin have detected faint signals from three trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) – small bodies that lie beyond the orbit of Neptune – using “shifted” images from the TESS telescope.
“If even one of these candidate objects is real, it will help us understand the dynamics of the outer solar system and the likely properties of Planet Nine. This new data is very interesting,” Rice said.
However, so far many scientists do not agree with Batygin’s research. For example, Ethan Siegel, an American theoretical astrophysicist specializing in the Big Bang theory, argues that the data used to identify Planet X is not deep enough.
In his opinion, the observed trans-Neptunian objects and their orbits, for which Planet X will be responsible, should be in a certain region of the sky, and not appear sporadically. Siegel noted that Batygin and his colleagues are likely to “fall prey to a phenomenon called discovery bias.”