The case for Planet Nine (a.k.a. Planet X)

Image: Planet Nine
An artist’s conception shows a “super-Earth” far from the sun. (Credit: R. Hurt / IPAC / Caltech)

For decades, astronomers have gone back and forth over whether a “Planet X” exists on the edge of our solar system – and now two researchers have laid out new evidence supporting the claim, including a rough idea of where it could be found.

One of the most notable things about the claim has to do with one of the people who’s making it: Mike Brown, the Caltech astronomer who says he “killed” Pluto when it was the ninth planet.

“This would be a real ninth planet,” Brown said in a news release. “There have only been two true planets discovered since ancient times, and this would be the third.”

Brown’s “two true planets” refer to Uranus and Neptune, not Pluto. To emphasize the point, Brown and his collaborator at Caltech, Konstantin Batygin, have nicknamed the object “Planet Nine.” (Other nicknames are said to include George, Planet of the Apes, Jehoshaphat and Phattie.)

There’s one big gap in the argument: No such object has yet been detected.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

One reply on “The case for Planet Nine (a.k.a. Planet X)”

Uranus was originally called ‘George’ by its discoverer, William Herschel, after his monarch. The Royal Society had other ideas… If the putative Planet 9 exists and is found, it will be interesting to see what the IAU adopt.

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