by Arian Marie
spotted Planet Nine
in Our Solar
Whether it exists or not,
Planet Nine continues to lurk in
the proverbial shadows. Now, the scientific community has a new line
of investigation into the elusive space object.
That's because astronomers might have unknowingly observed Planet
Nine as far back as 1983, a report from Science Alert
An astronomer at the Imperial College London,
analyzed data of observations from the Infrared Astronomical
taken in 1983 and he argues that it may contain evidence for the
elusive Planet Nine.
the elusive Planet Nine
Planet Nine is currently only a hypothesis, extrapolated in
2016 from the observation of an anomalous gravitational force in
the Kuiper Belt on the outskirts of
our solar system.
The elusive object may
not actually exist, or it may, in fact, be a tiny black
hole, according to a recent theory.
In Rowan-Robinson's new paper (A
Search for Planet 9 in the IRAS data), which appears in a
pre-print server and has not yet been peer-reviewed, the astronomer
says that the images taken by IRAS in 1983 might directly show
Planet Nine, though he himself acknowledges that it's far from being
a sure thing.
In his paper, he says
"given the poor
quality of the IRAS detections, at the very limit of the survey,
and in a very difficult part of the sky for far-infrared
detections, the probability of the candidate being real is not
Still, he does also point
"given the great
interest of the Planet Nine hypothesis, it would be worthwhile
to check whether an object with the proposed parameters and in
the region of sky proposed, is inconsistent with planetary
original 2016 paper that indicated
evidence for a potential Planet Nine suggested that the hypothetical
planet could be up to ten times the mass of the Earth, and
that it has avoided detection because it is up to 10 times
Neptune's distance from the sun and therefore receives very
little light from the Sun.
investigation has so far failed to uncover direct evidence of the
cosmic object, leading in part to the black hole theory.
In his paper, Rowan-Robinson proposes a new line of investigation:
based on the 1983
IRAS observations, he has pinpointed three key sources, each of
which were detected roughly within a month of each other.
The three separate
observations are suggestive of a single transient object,
The astronomer suggests
that we analyze infrared and optical data at these three points.
It may be a massive shot
in the proverbial, and literal, dark, but if the new line of
investigation somehow provides direct evidence of a Planet Nine,
let's just hope they don't actually call it Planet Michael...