Is Planet 9 real?  New observations fail to reveal the hypothetical orb

Is Planet 9 real? New observations fail to reveal the hypothetical orb

We are nice a good idea of ​​what lies within our Solar System. We know that there is no Mars-sized planet orbiting between Jupiter and Saturn or an advancing brown dwarf nemesis. Anything large and relatively close to the Sun would be easily visible. But we can’t rule out a smaller, more distant world, such as the hypothetical Planet 9 (or Planet 10 if you want to throw past Pluto). The odds against such a planet are quite high, and a recent study made the odds even lower.

Many astronomers were concerned about the planets that might be hidden on the outskirts of our Solar System, especially when the power of our telescopes was quite limited. But as large sky surveys began to scan the heavens, they found nothing beyond asteroid life. But the orbits of the worlds we found seemed to be clustered in a statistically odd way, as if they were being gravitationally disturbed by a larger object. If that were the case, this “Planet 9” would have a mass of about five Earths and an orbital distance of a few hundred to a thousand astronomical units. In other words, just small enough and far away that it would not be easily visible in sky surveys.

Of course, this has encouraged people to search the world, but it is not easy. ​​​​Planet 9 would be too far away to be visible by reflected light, so you would have to look for it with its faint infrared glow. And with only five Earths, it wouldn’t release much heat. Adding to this is that a planet so far away will orbit very slowly, so that within any series of observations you would not notice it moving at all. This is where this new study comes in.

To search for distant planets, the team used two infrared sky surveys, one from the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) and one from the AKARI Space Telescope. The two surveys were taken more than 20 years apart, giving any hypothetical planet plenty of time to move to a slightly different part of the sky. They assumed that any distant planets would be relatively close to the equatorial plane, then combed through the data, taking into account the potential planets.

Surprisingly, they received more than 500 candidates. Based on the energy distribution of their spectra, most of these candidates had orbital lengths less than 1,000 AU and masses less than Neptune, which is exactly the range expected for Planet 9. But it should not that you would get too excited. When the team looked at the infrared signatures by hand, they found that none of them were very strong. Most of them tended to be within or near a narrow flux-integrated nebula, also known as a galactic cirrus. They are diffuse clouds of interstellar gas that are not easily seen at visible wavelengths but emit infrared light.

So these candidates are clearly not planets but faint nebular echoes. Which rules many Planet 9. Another planet’s hope is lost in the clouds.

This article was originally published Earth Today with Brian Koberlein. Read the original article here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.