We may have a replacement for Pluto!

It goes without saying that you all remember the planetary mnemonic “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Noodles!”, but wait, is ‘Noodles’ really where it ends? It may or may not be! Planet X may actually be real! ( Technically Planet IX )

Last month, two Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) released evidence of what could potentially be the ninth planet of our Solar System. This planet is believed to have a mass 10 times greater than that of Earth and is about 20 times farther away from Sun than Neptune. In fact, it would take this new planet between 10000 and 20000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun.

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Shown is the predicted elliptical orbit for Planet Nine, and other orbits for known distant objects in the Solar System. Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC) .

Getting a glimpse of Planet Nine could prove difficult, due to its distance —and the fact that while astronomers have determined its orbital path, they’ve yet to pinpoint where in its orbital cycle it currently is. Though, its mass (5,000 times that of Pluto) should quickly end any debate about whether or not it’s a true planet.

This is the strongest claim scientists have made till date. Just to be clear, nobody has observed and discovered this planet yet, but Caltech’s Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin are convinced that it exists, presenting their claim in the 20 January 2016 issue of The Astronomical Journal. Ironically, Brown was the man ultimately responsible for the reclassification of Pluto as a dwarf planet, following his discovery of another dwarf planet, Eris.

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Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin.

“OK, OK, I am now willing to admit: I DO believe that the Solar System has nine planets” Brown (@plutokiller) joked on Twitter.
“This would be a real ninth planet,” he says. “There have only been two true planets discovered since ancient times and this would be a third. It’s a pretty substantial chunk of our Solar System that’s still out there to be found, which is pretty exciting.

Well, we may actually have a replacement for you, Pluto! Or maybe not!

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Pluto and its Moon, Charon.

Rishabh Jain

I am an Amateur Astronomer with keen interest in Astrophotography and Visual observations.I have experience in science communication and secondary school education in Astronomy. I have reached over 25,000 students which doing the same. I target making education reachable to the masses through the understanding of social and anthropological structures. My interests include long distance travelling, enjoying music and writing poetry.

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