Scientists are checking whether 40 years ago they missed the 9th planet

The search for the 9th, and before the degradation of Pluto, the 10th planet has been going on for decades. We have quite a few indications that a massive celestial body may be orbiting Pluto’s orbit. Scientists are checking whether 40 years ago we missed the evidence of its existence.

The mass of small objects orbiting our sun in bizarre orbits has long fascinated scientists who are trying to explain why this is so. Massive, weighing about 5 times the weight of Earth 9 planet is one of the possible explanations, certainly the most attractive in the media.

For several years, the discussion on this topic has gained a lot of heat again, mainly thanks to the analytical work conducted by Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin, who use the databases of transneptunic objects, which have been very extensive in recent decades.

In recent days, the world of science has been electrified by the news that one of the scientists, astronomer Michael Rowan-Robinson of Imperial College London, analyzing data collected in 1983 by the IRAS astronomical satellite, came across what could be a large object moving across the sky. The suspicious infrared data was repeated three times in the June, July, and September 1983 observations. So, is it possible to open champagnes? Not necessarily.

The whole problem with planet 9, if it does exist, is that it will be only 5 times the size of Earth, orbiting 400 to 800 AU from the sun. That’s 5 to 20 times further from Pluto’s orbit. The amount of light that can reflect or emit such an object is minimal, its temperature is low, its angular size is zero, and the area of the sky to be searched is huge.

The presence of the “object” detected by IRAS is not confirmed by data from other observation instruments, and the matter is further complicated by the fact that the detected object appeared close to the plane of our galaxy, which is very active in infrared. Thus, although infrared is suitable for searching for low-temperature objects, the appearance of the above-mentioned effect may be the result of sensor imperfections and constitute a kind of electronic noise.

The author of the analysis himself emphasizes that the data from the IRAS are not of the highest quality, but it would be worth trying to comb a circle with a radius of 2.4 to 4 degrees from the observation site in 1983 to be able to finally exclude or confirm this theory. It would also be useful to try to calculate whether such a hypothetical object fits at all with the latest models of the movement of transneptunic objects.

If the measurements were correct, the 9th planet would have to be between 3 and 5 times the size of the Earth, its orbit would be about 225 AU distant from the Sun, and the orbital period would be … 20,000. years. At first glance, it seems that the data does not quite match the calculations of the Brown & Batygin duo, but …

Our scientists with this type of simulation are constantly fighting with the so-called problem of n-bodies, in short, our calculations can be burdened with large errors. In addition, the regions beyond the orbit of Pluto are so little known that when we discover a large object there (and if I were to invest money, I would bet we would discover it), it may complicate, not solve, our problems with understanding what is happening on the frontiers of our solar system.