Two astronomers at the California Institute of Technology in the United States, have plotted the probability distribution function of the orbit of Planet Nine – a hypothetical planet that lies beyond Neptune in our solar system and could have a mass six times of Earth. Caltech astronomers Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin have been working for five years to find the Planet Nine, which is hard for astronomers to find if it exists, because of its distance from the sun – 300 times the distance from the Sun to Earth.
According to the scientists, after the five years of their proposition, they now know where to look in the sky to find Planet Nine.
Astronomers say that despite them having a general idea about the mysterious planet, “we couldn’t really give a full assessment of the range of uncertainties for where in the sky Planet Nine might be, how massive it might be, and how bright it might be. Now we can,” writes Brown in a statement posted on a blog dedicated to the astronomers’ search for the mysterious world.
In the outer solar system, beyond Neptune’s orbit, lies a circumstellar disc — of which Pluto is a part — that is believed to consist of over 100,000 solar system bodies more than 100 kilometres in size. This disc is similar to the main asteroid belt and is known as the Kuiper belt.
According to scientists, the most distant objects in the Kuiper Belt has anomalous orbits in a way that all their orbits somewhat point in the same direction, indicating a gravitational signature that is influencing their orbits. While the two astronomers proposed that Planet Nine is behind the influence on this anomalous behaviour, some other scientists question their proposition by saying that this anomalous behaviour could be an observational bias.
The new paper, submitted on August 22 for publication in Earth and Planetary Astrophysics, maps the probable orbits along with making predictions about its properties.
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