Has a new planet has been discovered in our Solar System ?

Has a new planet has been discovered in our Solar System ?

Recent compelling research supports the existence of an elusive planet at the fringes of our Solar System.

For years, scientists have been scouring the farthest limits of our solar system in search of a mysterious planet. Two recent papers, one published in the Astronomical Journal and another on arXiv (still awaiting peer review), strengthen the theory of the existence of this enigmatic planet, dubbed "Planet 9." And no, we are not talking about Pluto, which until 2006 was considering a planet before being downgraded to the status of a "dwarf planet".

The work of Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin, planetary researchers at Caltech and co-authors of the two studies, highlights the pivotal role of trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs). These celestial bodies orbit the Sun at a distance greater than that of Neptune, which is the farthest known planet from our star. In 2004, Caltech researchers discovered what remains the most famous of these objects to date: Sedna, a dwarf planet that moves in an unusually elliptical orbit. This discovery has led scientists to hypothesize the presence of another celestial body that could be exerting a gravitational influence on it.

These objects exhibit unusual orbits, suggesting that an undetected, distant planet might be exerting a gravitational pull on them. Since the elliptical and inclined trajectories of these objects are not easily explained by interactions with known planets, it is likely that a massive planet influences them at the edges of the Solar System. This disruption of their orbits by an unknown force was reported in a paper in Scientific American on April 15 this year. But where exactly is this Planet 9 hiding?

To date, no direct observation of this hypothetical planet has been made, which is why Batygin and Brown stress the importance of the next generation of space observatories in continuing this search. They place great hopes in the future Vera C. Rubin Observatory, a massive American telescope currently under construction in northern Chile. Scheduled to become operational in 2025, it will be able to detect the faintest and most northern positions predicted for Planet 9. This represents a significant advancement that will mark "a promising exploration phase that could unravel the mysteries of the outer frontier of our solar system," as mentioned in their publication on arXiv. The quest for Planet 9 is far from over, and tomorrow's tools will undoubtedly help confirm the presence of this hidden planet.

Internet Archaeology