Exoplanets

Remember Planet Nine, It’s Time To Meet Planet Ten

A recently discovered object, named Planet Ten, has been influencing objects within the Kuiper Belt.
Remember Planet Nine, It's Time To Meet Planet Ten

We’ve talked a lot on the planet nine debate. At one point we found four planet nine candidates in one day, and the next NASA was raining on the parade all together. We discovered a minor planet that could indicate it doesn’t exist, and we’ve read countless other stories about it’s apparent existence and influence on objects.

So for now, we’re going to can that debate – because “Planet Ten” was possibly just located. A study that will be published in the Astrophysical Journal (currently held on AirXiv) details movement in the Kuiper belt indicative of a large unseen body according to the lead authors of the paper.

“The most likely explanation for our results is that there is some unseen mass,”

The unseen object weighs be between the masses of the Earth and Mars and is believed to be much closer to the inner solar system than that of planet nine. Planet ten should be 60 astronomical units from the Sun, where Planet nine is theorized to be 600 astronomical units from the sun.

The planets existence is inferred because of warped orbits of objects within the Kuiper belt. This warped orbit is believed to be caused by Planet ten as you can see in the diagram below.

The theorized orbit of Planet Ten. Heather Roper/LPL

Scientists are quite certain that the resulting phenomena is not because of the theorized Planet Nine due to it’s distance from the Kuiper Belt.

“Planet Nine is too far away to influence these KBOs. It certainly has to be much closer than 100 AU to substantially affect the KBOs in that range.”

While Planet Ten (like planet nine) has yet to have it’s existence confirmed, researchers do believe that it’s existence is not far out of reach. “This fits really nicely with how we expect planets formed in the early solar system,” says Michele Bannister of Queen’s University Belfast.

There are numerous planetary models that show planets being hurled in and out of the solar system during it’s formation. Planet nine and ten could very well exist, and we may be on the verge of confirming a pair of new galactic neighbors.

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Jamie is an amateur astronomer and every day space geek.