So many of us were disappointed by the fact that good old Pluto was booted from our celestial lineup, but the same astronomer who determined that the dwarf planet wasn’t up to snuff may have just made up for the loss with an exciting new find.
Caltech professor of planetary astronomy Mike Brown is at it again, and he’s messing with our galactic notions with the discovery of what researchers are now calling Planet Nine.
All of this came about when Brown and his Caltech colleague Konstantin Batygin started looking into the strange orbits of a few bodies that lie just beyond Neptune.
In a study published in The Astronomical Journal, the astronomers concluded that these bizarre orbital patterns are being affected by the presence of a massive planet that we’ve never seen before.
In fact, this previously unknown planet is estimated to be about 10 times larger than Earth.
After conducting extensive research, Brown is confident that Planet Nine is lurking out there just waiting to be found. “I’m willing to take bets on anyone who’s not a believer,” he joked in an interview with NPR.
Scientists have actually been looking into the possibility of Planet Nine’s existence for quite some time now, since it’s been the only logical way to explain why those bodies beyond Neptune have such odd orbits.
The best part is that Brown truly believes that telescopic technology will allow us to get a visual of this planet within the next few years.
“I want to know what it’s like. I want to see that it’s really there,” Brown said. “It will hurt when somebody finds it and it’s not me — but I assume it’s going to happen, and I’m willing to feel that pain.”
So what do you think? If you ask me, I’m all for the addition of another planet to the Milky Way fam, so I’m choosing to believe in this research. I hope that NASA has some sort of official naming contest for Planet Nine, because I have so many (really horrible) ideas.