For ages, astronomers have hypothesized the existence of a ninth planet. This particular planet would have worn the number ten if Pluto hadn’t have been relabeled into a dwarf planet.
The planet, known as Planet Nine, is thought to be five times more massive than Earth and 20 times farther out from our Sun than Neptune, which is the most distant planet, located at the skirts of the Solar System. While Planet Nine’s existence has not been proven, scientists strongly believe that there is a massive planet hiding in the distant edge of our Solar System.
There are a few peculiar features in the Solar System that would make sense of the Planet Nine. First, it is the fact that Kuiper Belt, a disc abounding in freezing asteroids, comets, and dwarf planets that encircle the Solar System, rotates in the opposite way to the planets within it.
Even though there is no clear evidence of the monster planet hiding in the skirts of the Solar System, new research has claimed that NASA has most probably already seen the planet, but it doesn’t know yet, or it hides the discovery. This is only because of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), whose job is to identify planets located outside our Solar System.
Probabilities and Improbabilities
TESS manages to capture thousands of deep space images as it orbits the Earth, and it is most likely that is has already Planet Nine. Even so, the slippery planet may not have been observed as TESS searches fro planets by studying the transit area of a distant star.
The transit zone is the area in which a planet intersects a star relative to TESS, which sends a dim shadow the satellite can identify. However, if Planet Nine is indeed lurking around there, it would not have a transit zone in connection with TESS because it is located at an incredible distance from its host star, which is our Sun.
The study’s lead author, Harvard University astrophysicist Matt Holman, said, “What TESS is doing is staring at regions in the sky for months for at a time.
“It’s looking for exoplanets, and you can find those by looking at the paths of the host stars.
“While it’s doing that, it’s collecting images one at a time, and it can look for objects in our solar system.
“The main thing I don’t think people realized before is if you have a small telescope like TESS, you can combine images and find faint objects.”
He added that if Planet Nine is in the Northern Hemisphere, we will later get to it, as we are not there just yet.
Known for her passion for writing, Paula contributes on both Science and Health niches here at Dual Dove.