The solar system has eight planets, right? Not according to new research out of Caltech, which NASA seems to agree with. Recent scientific discoveries may confirm the existence of a giant ninth planet far beyond the orbit of Neptune. Conspiracy theories and ancient mythologies, like the Sumerian tales of Nibiru, tell of a large ninth planet wandering around our solar system, causing orbits to be perturbed and life on Earth to be cyclically wiped out. For example, the ancient Sumerians believed humanity was created as a slave race for the Annunaki, who came to Earth to mine gold to save their dying planet, Nibiru. Scientists now believe there is indeed a ninth planet, based on astronomical observations. At least, that’s what NASA is claiming.
By the way, Pluto is not the ninth planet. Pluto is five times smaller than Earth’s Moon, and was appropriately downgraded to dwarf planet status in 2006 by Caltech astronomer Mike Brown. It is one of potentially hundreds of thousands of dwarf planets in the Kuiper Belt.
It’s not Pluto, but lurking in the dark outer reaches of our solar system, twenty times farther from the Sun than Neptune, is what NASA claims is a large ninth planet. On October 4, 2017, NASA issued a press release claiming that a massive, invisible planet best explains gravitational and orbital anomalies in the outer solar system. Planets don’t emit their own light, and because Planet Nine is so far away, it’s too dark to view directly. It is possible, however, that current telescopes could see Planet Nine in the future, for example if light from the Sun is reflected off its atmosphere or surface at the right time and angle to make it visible from Earth. “There are now five different lines of observational evidence pointing to the existence of Planet Nine,” said Caltech planetary astrophysicist Konstantin Batygin, who along with Caltech astronomer Mike Brown, co-authored a 2016 study of Kuiper Belt objects. The Kuiper Belt contains trillions of leftover objects from the formation of our solar system, such as comets and dwarf planets like Pluto and Sedna (which are also known as “trans-Neptunian” objects). It’s shaped like a disc and lies beyond the orbit of Neptune.
Planet Nine is also responsible for the precession, or tilt, of our solar system’s axis. NASA estimates that Planet Nine is about 10 times as massive as Earth, making it a rocky “super-Earth” (more on super-Earths later). It has a wide elliptical orbit that takes it as far as 100 billion miles from the Sun.
Gravitational and orbital anomalies
The existence of Planet Nine best explains various gravitational and orbital anomalies of objects in the Kuiper Belt. In a survey of the six most distant known objects in our solar system with orbits exclusively beyond Neptune, Batygin and Brown found that the distant icy bodies “all have elliptical orbits pointing in the same direction [relative to the plane of the planets].” Gravity from hypothetical Planet Nine explains why these objects have a relative tilt of 30 degrees downward, relative to the planets. They simply mirror Planet Nine’s orbital path, due to the pull of its gravity. Planet Nine’s supposed gravity, according to Batygin, should also result in objects with orbital tilts of up to 90 degrees. Sure enough, five known Kuiper Belt objects exert this behavior as well. In addition to their extreme tilt, these Kuiper Belt objects orbit the Sun in the opposite direction as the planets, suggesting a strong source of gravity. Batygin and Brown’s observations confirmed the predictions made by their computer models; that a super-Earth with a highly elliptical orbit best explains the confluence of these anomalies.
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