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How Planet 9 Would Make Us a More Typical Solar System

4 Feb 2016, 23:36 UTC
How Planet 9 Would Make Us a More Typical Solar System
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The six most distant known orbiting objects in the solar system (magenta) all mysteriously line up in a single direction and on a very similar plane. The new report shows that a planet with 10 times the mass of the earth in a distant eccentric orbit seemingly unconnected with the other six objects is required to maintain this configuration. In this image, the sun is the bright object in the center and Neptune–the furthest confirmed planet from the sun — is to the right. (Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)
There’s been a ton of justifiable excitement these days about the possible discovery of a ninth planet in our solar system — an object ten time the mass of Earth and 200 times further from the sun. Especially in the context of the recent demotion of Pluto from a planet to a dwarf planet, the announcement of a potential replacement seems almost karmic, stage managed, in its take-and-give. This is especially so since the astronomer probably most responsible for the diminished position of Pluto is also the one who now asserts the very far away presence of a different Planet 9 — Michael Brown of Caltech.
The validity of the discovery of a ...

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