Astronomers Restart The Search for Planet 9

Planet 9 is not Pluto, regardless of how much the NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wants to claim otherwise. Pluto is officially a dwarf planet since 2006, and it will probably always remain that way. Astronomers suspect for a pretty long time that there’s another planet in our solar system beyond Neptune, and they’re ready to engage in serious search for it once again.

Based on mathematical calculations done by scientists at the California Institute of Technology in 2015, Planet 9 should certainly be there somewhere in the solar system. But it wasn’t yet found with any telescope, and we all know that theory doesn’t necessarily match up with practice.

New method of hunting for distant objects

During this year’s annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences, a team of researchers presented a new method of searching for distant objects although they’re weakly illuminated by the Sun. The method is called ‘shifting and stacking’, and it works by gathering light from many images captured by telescopes to identify the faint orbital pathways of distant objects.

The scientists already tested the new planet-finding method, and they managed to identify 17 potential objects within dark regions of the outer solar system.

20 times farther from the Sun than Neptune

Planet 9 should be located at this incredible distance from the Sun, based on the calculations and evidence scientists have until now. NASA even says that the hypothetical planet would need somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 years for a full rotation around the Sun. Therefore, we can easily conclude why the supposed planet is difficult to be detected with telescopes: it’s extremely dim.

We’re eagerly waiting for other achievements of the new method, as astronomers will continue their search for Planet 9. The new study was accepted for publication within The Planetary Science Journal.

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