Ninth planet may still be hiding in the Solar System

Scientists again suggest that a planet the size of Earth may be hiding far away on the outskirts of the Solar System. This is hinted at by the large number of trans-Neptunian objects that have orbits with a large inclination to the ecliptic.

The ninth planet of the Solar System can be hiding from us in the dark. Source: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Ninth planet of the Solar System

After Pluto was recognized not as the ninth large planet but as only one of the dwarf planets, some scientists did not stop trying to find a large body beyond the orbit of Neptune. Recently, an article about this was published by Patrick Sophia Likavka and Takashi Ito, they work in Japan. 

They base their assumption about the existence of a ninth planet, the size of which is comparable to Earth, on the clustering of the orbits of trans-Neptunian objects. In their opinion, too many space rocks rotate along very similar trajectories for this to be an accident. 

In 2016, sensational statements about the discovery of the ninth planet had already been made. Then the authors of them were scientists from the University of California Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin. And they also cited the trajectories of trans-Neptunian bodies as the main argument in support of their theory.

And few people remember that long before these two, back in 2008, it was Likavka and Ito who proposed this theory. However, many years have passed since then, and people have discovered more trans-Neptunian objects than in all the years before, but it was not possible to find the ninth planet.

Where to look for a planet

According to the latest calculations of Likavka and Ito, the ninth planet should have a diameter 1.5-3 times larger than Earth. But it will not be easy to find it, because its orbit must be 250-500 AU away from us and also have an inclination to the ecliptic of 30 degrees.

That is, in order to detect it, it is necessary to look into the void, where no one usually looks. For comparison, the most distant of the discovered trans-Neptunian objects is located at a distance of only 132 AU, and Pluto is maximally removed from the sun by only 49 AU.

However, scientists insist that the existence of such a planet can well explain three anomalies that they allegedly observe in the distribution of trans-Neptunian objects: the presence of bodies with surprisingly elongated orbits, clusters that cannot be explained by the gravity of Neptune, and numerous objects with large orbital inclinations.

According to

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