Planet Nine's orbit has been discovered, and its route around the sun has been plotted by new research. The planet is estimated to have a mass of 6.2 times that of the Earth and is 300 AU from the sun.
Since it was initially proposed some years ago, scientists have questioned the reality of Planet Nine. However, new research has calculated the orbit of the mysterious celestial object. Caltech Researchers Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin, study authors, mapped the orbital path of a mysterious planet that has yet to be identified.
Planet Nine Found ~60 Degrees Near Right Ascension
In a blog post, Brown said that the greatest chance of Planet Nine's position is approximately ~ 60 degrees in Right Ascension. He said that the planet is quite close to the galactic plane. It is around the aphelion, the point at which it is farthest from the sun.
Planet Nine would be around 46.5 billion miles (500 astronomical units) away from the sun if it were at the median distance of aphelion. Astronomers move from 360 to 0 in the Right Ascension when charting the whole sky.
The distance between two AUs is roughly 93 million miles, EarthSky explained.
Brown and Batygin drew the map by studying some of the known objects in the Kuiper Belt, which are ice bodies beyond Neptune. Many of which have weird orbits that the researchers assume are influenced by Planet Nine.
Given how unlikely it would be for this to happen naturally, the researchers cited the clustering of Kuiper Belt Objects as an indication that Planet Nine exists. More than 2,000 objects have been discovered in the Kuiper Belt. However, NASA estimates that there might be hundreds of thousands more in the area.
Their calculations claim that Planet Nine has a mass of 6.2 times that of the Earth and perihelion, the closest approach to the sun, of about 300 AU. It also has a 16-degree inclination, the angle at which it tilts about the solar system's plane.
According to EarthSky.org, the Earth has a 0-degree inclination, while Pluto has a 17-degree inclination. The work was approved for publication in the Astronomical Journal, and a preprint version is accessible on arXiv. Their research is titled "The Orbit of Planet Nine."
Planet Nine's Existence 'Questionable'
Planet Nine's existence has sparked debate, with many other scientists believing it does not exist.
In February, a group of astronomers told Daily Mail that the Kuiper Belt's peculiar orbits may be an illusion. They suggested that the odd orbits of objects in the Kuiper Belt might be caused by a large disk of tiny ice particles colliding with the orbits of other items.
A study titled "First Detection of Orbital Motion for HD 106906 b: a Wide-separation Exoplanet on a Planet Nine-like Orbit" previously discovered an exoplanet 336 light-years from Earth with characteristics comparable to Planet Nine, HD 106906 b, which the Hubble Space Telescope discovered.
NASA issued a statement claiming that Planet Nine might be 20 times the distance from the sun as Neptune. Batygin said that it is now harder to conceive our solar system without a Planet Nine than with one.
According to Fox News, NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite may have already discovered planet Nine.
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