The search for the elusive Planet Nine continues to hold scientists enthralled. Some scientists believe that there may now be even more evidence than before that indicates that Planet Nine could be hovering somewhere on the edge of our solar system.
"There are now five different lines of observational evidence pointing to the existence of Planet Nine," Konstantin Batygin, a planetary astrophysicist at Caltech, California, whose team is dedicatedly hunting for the distant world and may be closing in, said in a statement. "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."
Researchers believe that the yet-to-be discovered Planet Nine could be 10 times the mass of the Earth and 20 times farther away from the Sun than Neptune. Previous doomsday theories about the distant planet speculated that Planet Nine could potentially be a harbinger of destruction, colliding with the Earth and ushering in an apocalypse. However, according to Nasa, if the alien world does exist, it will likely be located so far away that there will be "no chance" of a collision with Earth.
According to Batygin and his co-author, Caltech astronomer Mike Brown, there are five fascinating indications that point to the existence of Planet Nine:-
- Six planetary objects discovered in the Kuiper Belt, all of which were discovered to have elliptical orbits pointing in the same direction.
- Moreover, each of the orbits of the six objects tilted 30 degrees and downward.
- Computer simulations of the solar system revealed that there may be even more tilted planetary objects. "The tilt would be on the order of 90 degrees, as if the plane of the solar system and these objects formed an 'X' when viewed edge-on. Sure enough, Brown realized that five such objects already known to astronomers fill the bill," Nasa said.
- Yet another study by Batygin's graduate student, Elizabeth Bailey, showed that Planet Nine could have tilted the planets in our solar system during the last 4.5 billion years, further solving the mystery of why the planets' orbit is tilted around 6 degrees, when compared to the Sun's equator.
- The final sign of Planet Nine's existence is presented by the Kuiper belt objects, which unlike every other planetary body in our solar system, orbit in the opposite direction. According to Nasa, Planet Nine's existence would explain this mysterious behavior.
"No other model can explain the weirdness of these high-inclination orbits," Batygin said. "It turns out that Planet Nine provides a natural avenue for their generation. These things have been twisted out of the solar system plane with help from Planet Nine and then scattered inward by Neptune. Over long periods of time, Planet Nine will make the entire solar-system plane precess or wobble, just like a top on a table."