We already know a lot about the 8 planets in our solar system. But according to new research, that number might be changing very soon. As scientists recently revealed, evidence of a ninth planet might just be hiding in plain sight. Here's what they found.
Mike Brown, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology, has been studying the solar system for years now. But his latest analysis might just offer a new break in the scientific community - more specifically, regarding the hypothetical "Planet Nine" that he first introduced back in 2016.
For those unfamiliar, the alleged ninth planet was first proposed by Brown and his colleague Konstantin Batygin after studying six trans-Neptunian objects (TNO). As they alleged, the unique orbit of these "extreme" TNOs resulted from a surrounding planet's gravitational pull. But that's not all they revealed.
According to their initial hypothesis, the mysterious "Planet 9" was up to 10 times the mass of Earth and situated between our planet and Neptune. But perhaps the most controversial aspect of their finding? That the alleged planet was hiding in plain sight. As Brown claimed, the ninth planet was potentially being camouflaged by the bright lights emitted from the Milky Way's stars.
But despite the hypothesized planet's suspected invisibility, Brown and his colleague have recently discovered a potential breakthrough, and the duo has refined their initial findings. As of today, the alleged planet is said to be roughly 5 or 6 times the mass of Earth - instead of 10. And they've created a "treasure map" as to where exactly it might be.
"Five and a half years after our proposal of the existence of Planet Nine, we have finally accomplished what is perhaps the most important task in aiding the search: we now know where to look," the duo proudly announced in their latest study. "For many reasonable assumptions, Planet Nine is closer and brighter than initially expected." While their research is still far from over, Brown is more hopeful than ever. "I think it’s within a year or two from being found," he assured.
Stay tuned while this story continues to develop...