In a paper published just this week in the academic journal of the Cornell University Library, scientists put sufficient evidence on the table to suggest there’s another planet in our Solar System we aren’t aware of.
In the paper, astronomers announce the discovery of an object called 2015 BP519, a small, rocky entity beyond Neptune with some wonky movement patterns that suggest the celestial body could be pulled by the gravity of a larger planet lurking in deep space.
All the planets in our solar system orbit at the same angle because of the gravitational pull of the sun. 2015 BP519 orbits the sun at a different angle: 54 degrees off our orbital plane.
These readings point out the rock could be being pulled by a giant hidden planet with 10 times the mass of Earth.
Models suggest this giant planet could take up to 10,000 to 20,000 years to complete just one rotation around the sun.
Researchers have been on the lookout for “planet nine” since early 2016 when astronomers first spotted a group of objects orbiting at an odd angle well past Neptune.
“It’s not proof that Planet Nine exists,” David Gerdes, an astronomer at the University of Michigan and co-author of the paper, told Quanta Magazine.
“But I would say the presence of an object like this in our solar system bolsters the case for Planet Nine.”
2015 BP519 was found using data from the Dark Energy Survey, an ongoing project investigating the expansion of our universe by looking into deep space.
“Finding a 10-Earth-mass planet in our own solar system would be a discovery of unrivalled scientific magnitude,” said Gregory Laughlin, a Yale astronomer not involved with the paper.