Caltech scientists have found evidence of a giant planet in the outer solar system, tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit.
Nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune.
It would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun.
The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, that have not yet observed the object directly, discovered the planet’s existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations.
Mike Brown, the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy, said:
“This would be a real ninth planet. There have only been two true planets discovered since ancient times, and this would be a third. It’s a pretty substantial chunk of our solar system that’s still out there to be found, which is pretty exciting.”
Konstantin Batygin, an assistant professor of planetary science, explains:
Caltech’s Konstantin Batygin, an assistant professor of planetary science, and Mike Brown, the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy, discuss new research that provides evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system.