ASTRONOMERS say they are focusing on an elusive NINTH planet in the outer reaches of our solar system.
In a recent study, experts ruled out a section of the night sky where the mysterious object could be located.
That means astronomers have narrowed the area in which they can find the elusive Planet Nine — if it even exists, of course.
The distant object is believed to be up to 10 times the mass of Earth and orbits just beyond the range of our telescopes.
It has been proposed to explain the unusual orbits of objects on the fringes of our star system.
However, it has never been directly observed and whether or not it exists remains a subject of heated debate among astronomers.
In a study recently published via Arxiv, University of Pennsylvania scientists detailed their latest attempt to find the planet.
They used data from the Dark Energy Survey, a research project mapping hundreds of millions of galaxies, to shed light on dark energy.
The team used computer modeling to sift through data to find all possible signs of Planet Nine based on its predicted size and orbit.
They did not find it, but did so by eliminating 5 percent of the region of the night sky covered by DES where these objects were not detected.
Although they didn’t find the planet, their work ruled out an area of the sky where it could be located.
According to the team, this improves the chances of finding Planet Nine by focusing researchers’ search criteria in the future.
Planet Nine, also referred to as “Planet X,” is a hypothetical world that some astronomers believe orbits the Sun behind Pluto in a 10,000-year orbit.
It is believed to be up to ten times the size of Earth and was first proposed to explain the paths of distant chunks of ice and space rocks.
Objects beyond Neptune have odd orbits, suggesting a large planet is affecting their movement with its gravitational pull.
A search is underway to find the distant world with telescopes that could spot them at any moment.
A number of research reports in recent years provide strong evidence for the planet’s existence.
However, no one has been able to obtain indisputable proof in the form of direct observation.
As a result, many scientists doubt there’s a ninth planet out there — although Nasa says there’s a “compelling reason” for its existence.
What did Nasa say about Planet Nine?
Nasa is open to the possibility that Planet Nine exists and has a side dedicated to the legendary world on his website.
There, the agency describes a “hypothetical Planet X,” suggesting it could have up to 10 times the mass of Earth.
It adds that the object could have such a distant orbit that a year would last between 10,000 and 20,000 Earth years.
However, Nasa carefully emphasizes that the planet is only a hypothesis at this point and that more evidence is needed to confirm its existence.
“The possibility of a new planet is certainly exciting for me as a planetary scientist and for all of us,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division.
“However, this is not the discovery or discovery of a new planet. It is still too early to say with certainty that there is a so-called Planet X.
“What we are seeing is an early prediction based on modeling of limited observations. It is the beginning of a process that could lead to an exciting outcome.”
Doubts about the existence of the planet
Never observed, Planet Nine was proposed by CalTech scientists in 2016 to explain the shaky orbits of objects in the Kuiper Belt, a region beyond Neptune filled with dwarf planets and icy debris.
Scientists thought the gravitational pull of an undiscovered ninth planet in the solar system might pull the space bodies in unusual orbits.
Not everyone is convinced of this, however, as a number of studies argue that the orbits are the result of other celestial forces.
A recent study by astronomers from the University of Cambridge suggested that the startling movements have a much simpler explanation.
The team argued that the orbits would instead be distorted by a giant disk of icy objects in the Kuiper Belt.
Ten times heavier than Earth, the disc is made up of debris left over from the formation of the long-frozen solar system.
- Read the latest phone and gadget news
- Stay up to date on Apple stories
- Get the latest on Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram
Computer simulations performed by the team show that such a disc explains the orbits of Kuiper Belt objects, also known as Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs).
Other articles have suggested that the shaky orbits could be caused by a small black hole or small sphere of highly concentrated dark matter.
The best tips and hacks for phones and gadgets
Looking for tips and hacks for your phone? Want to find these secret features in social media apps? We’ve got you covered…
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science Team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8577573/planet-9-discovered-astronomers-hidden-world/ Planet 9 could be discovered soon as astronomers “narrow down” the hidden world in the solar system.