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The Search for Planet Nine

Is Planet Nine just a ring of icy bodies?

22 Jan 2019, 18:44 UTC
Is Planet Nine just a ring of icy bodies?
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

We have just passed the three year anniversary of the publication from Konstantin and I on our proposal for the existence of Planet Nine. In those three years something remarkable happened: not a single alternative hypothesis was proposed to explain the observed alignment of the distant Kuiper belt objects that led to the hypothesis. Instead, most of the discussion has centered about the critical question of whether or not the alignment is really there or somehow an illusion (the latest and definitive analysis, published yesterday, makes it clear that the alignment is really there). It appeared that if the observations were real, Planet Nine was the only explanation.A lack of alternative hypotheses is unusual. Astronomers are extremely good at coming up with explanations for nearly anything. Usually the problem is too many explanations with not enough data to discriminate between them. The fact that no Planet Nine alternative was proposed for so long was a testament to the fact that it is really really hard to explain the quite good data in any other way.Finally, however, after three years, a new hypothesis has been proposed which can at least explain the alignments without Planet Nine. The basic trick is to ...

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