Apr 04, 2017 10:34 AM EDT
Four Planet 9 Candidates Found After Massive Search Led By ANU
Four "unknown" objects were marked in the southern sky which could be possible candidates for the highly anticipated Planet 9. The images were caught through the SkyMapper telescope situated at Siding Spring Observatory. The Australian National University (ANU) leads the exciting project.
The astronomers would now utilize other colossal telescopes all over the world to identify the four objects, Space reported. Nonetheless, even if none of these celestial bodies is Planet 9, researchers were able to yield valuable additional information about what they are looking for. In fact, with the help of over 60,000 citizen scientists, a four-year research has been completed in just three days.
For one thing, research leader Brad Tucker said that they already managed to "rule out a planet" about the size of Neptune and 350 times farther than the distance of Earth from the sun. What mankind is looking for is likely around 10 times heavier than Earth and follows a "highly elliptical" orbit. Approximately, It revolves around the sun every 10,000 to 20,000 years.
While the universe offers endless possibilities, the newly found four objects in the southern sky may be limited to dwarf planets and stray asteroids only. Per the Daily Mail, the planetary search on BBC's Stargazing Live is presented by renowned Professor Brian Cox and Dara O'Briain. Ordinary people may go to Zooniverse.org to get involved in the hunt.
Well, astronomers Scott Sheppard and Chadwick Trujillo first introduced the idea of an existing Planet 9 last 2014. They noted that the 2012 VP113, the dwarf planet Sedna, and a lot more objects beyond Pluto share "distinct orbital characteristics." This concurrence may be explained by a giant, undiscovered "perturber" loitering in the outer boundaries of the solar system and tugging on other bodies. Fellow astronomers Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown supported the former hypothesis last January 2016 after they have found evidence of the unseen pulling force.
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