Scientists and astronomers theorize that we could have nine planets in our solar system. Ever since Pluto was declared a dwarf planet, there have been eight planets that we call “ours”, until now. Evidence and theories are being thrown around to help explain the mysteries of our solar system. The strongest evidence of this new planet comes from strangely moving Kuiper Belt Objects (KBO’s). The Kuiper Belt is made up of comets and meteoroids in a belt beyond Neptune’s orbit. The problem is that there are now seven KBO’s lining up in what looks like an orbit around something. Since scientists are estimating Planet 9’s to be 10 times as massive, it could be pulling on these KBO’s and interrupting their normal trajectories.
Other questions such as “how did it get there?” and “does it impact us?” are also questions waiting to be answered. On theory is that a nearby star, back in the beginning of the universe, tugged on the planet as it drifted out where it is now. On the other hand, others believe that our own planets gave powerful gravitational pushes to move it further from the sun. Another popular theory is that Planet 9 was an exoplanet floating through space when the sun captured it. More surprising, though, is that the planets tilt is almost 90 degrees to the other planets.
We have known for a long time that the planets are about 6 degrees off from the tilt of the sun. It is still a mystery today, but maybe Planet 9 has an answer. If it was an exoplanet the size of Neptune, it could have come in and altered the elliptical tilt of our planets. As a high mass object, it could have moved the planets to result in the 6 degree offset from the sun.
Nobody knows for sure how Plant 9 came to be, or that it even exists! Today theories are being presented and maybe within a year we could be able to point our telescopes at our ninth relative.
Until we point our high powered telescopes into the Kuiper Belt, though, the beautiful Norwood night sky can feast our curiosity. For those still watching Scorpion in the South, the three brightest objects of Mars, Saturn, and Antares will be lined up on Tuesday and Wednesday. Also looking forward to the weekend, Jupiter continues its descent to the horizon on a collision course with Venus (No, they don’t actually collide). On Saturday, the 27th, our big gas giant will be within a tenth of a degree from Venus. How good are your eyes? Can you see the two planets in the East or just one merged light?