Planet Nine Evidence Under Question



Picture of the Andromeda Galaxy

Brianne Leber, Chief Editor

There has been a theory about a large “Planet Nine” existing on the edge of the solar system because of Trans-Neptunian objects, simply known as a clustering of mini planets. This theory has been refuted by scientists who say the clustering was not because of a planet’s gravitational pull, but instead the position of the telescope used. This finding does not rule out Planet Nine, but makes it a lot less likely.

Planet Nine is a claim by researchers at the California Institute of Technology based on the clustering of mini planets. They calculated that the planet was nine times the size of earth and causing a gravitational pull on the mini planets. They did not believe that the clustering was a coincidence.

The refutation of this claim lies in possible natural bias because of how the mini planets are observed. In order to observe the mini planets, we have to look when they are closest to the sun, during specific a time and in specific places in the sky.

Samantha Lawler explained “every survey has biases, some are aware of them, some are not,” according to Danial Clery’s article “Claim for giant ‘Planet Nine’ at Solar System’s edge takes a hit.”

In order to test if there is possible bias, researchers used different telescopes all over the world to track the orbit patterns of 14 mini planets. They then created simulations to show how the orbit is not showing evidence of a new large planet’s gravitational pull.

Kevin Napier is quoted in the same Clery article as saying “there’s only so much statistical power you can draw with so few objects.” Napier says that Planet Nine can not be ruled out and more information is needed before this situation is solved.

This theory is very cool so I have tried to summarize and make accessible information that I have read from different articles. This, however, means that this article is unable to be fact checked for complete accuracy. If you would like more information, I suggest reading the articles that I gained the bulk of my understanding from. Links here: Evidence of Planet Nine diminishing as researchers find no evidence of clustering and Claim for giant ‘Planet Nine’ at Solar System’s edge takes a hit

A photo of myself posing with my computer which has a tab open to Voltron: Legendary Defender, a show based in space. (Brianne Leber)

When I talked to my sister, Autumn Leber, about Planet Nine,  she mentioned how she “loves reading about science stuff, but it’s difficult when I don’t understand the language.” She expressed frustration with “needing to look up terms, but I’m never positive that what I found is correct.”

I love space so much. I watch educational videos, tv shows, and books that are based in space all the time, so learning about new planet theories is awesome.

Not knowing terminology can really put a damper in peoples interest in space. Hopefully this article is helpful to anyone who experiences similar situations!