Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Mathematical Evidence Points to a New Planet in Our Solar System

Scientists are reconsidering the number of planets in our solar system after finding mathematical evidence for a new planet that would orbit the sun every 10,000-20,000 years.

Mathematical Evidence Points to a New Planet in Our Solar System


Scientists are reconsidering the number of planets in our solar system — there may be nine in it after all, but Pluto still isn't one of them (according to scientists).

In the badlands beyond Neptune and past the ring of icy debris known as the Kuiper belt, of which Pluto is a resident, it's possible there's another planet orbiting our sun. Where Neptune takes 165 years to make a full rotation around the sun, Planet Nine (or Ten if you still consider Pluto a planet) could take 10,000 to 20,000 years to make a full trip.


Caltech Astrophysicist Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin are the two scientists credited for this potential discovery. They “found” it through mathematical models and simulations. The planet hasn't been observed directly through a telescope, however astrophysicists have long known that the structure of our solar system doesn't add up. The two made their case for this Planet Nine in a report published in The Astronomical Journal.

Some may recognize Brown as the man responsible for demoting Pluto from its planet status. He hopes that this new find will help fill the planet-sized hole he left in our hearts.

“My daughter is the one who told me I need to do this,” he told the L.A. Times. “Even before we started this, she said, ‘Daddy, what you need to do is go find a new planet so that people will no longer be sad about Pluto.’”

If this Planet Nine does exist, it would put to rest many mysteries surrounding the workings of our solar system:

"Although we were initially quite skeptical that this planet could exist, as we continued to investigate its orbit and what it would mean for the outer solar system, we become increasingly convinced that it is out there," says Batygin, an assistant professor of planetary science. "For the first time in over 150 years, there is solid evidence that the solar system's planetary census is incomplete."

Scientists estimate the planet is one to 10 times the mass of Earth, sitting right between Earth and Neptune size-wise. Despite its estimated size, the planet will prove difficult to find. At its closest point to Earth the planet will still be 18.6 billion miles away, shrouded in the dark void of space. What's more, even with the Earth's most powerful telescopes looking, it will take tremendous effort and luck to spot the thing. It has a possible orbit of 20,000 years — that's a lot of celestial ground to cover.

Like a "new" planet could ever fill the hole Pluto left in our hearts.

***

Photo Credit: Getty Images / Handout

Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker

Radical innovation: Unlocking the future of human invention

Ready to see the future? Nanotronics CEO Matthew Putman talks innovation and the solutions that are right under our noses.

Big Think LIVE

Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.

Keep reading Show less

Swedish scientist advocates eating humans to combat climate change

A scientist in Sweden makes a controversial presentation at a future of food conference.

Surprising Science
  • A behavioral scientist from Sweden thinks cannibalism of corpses will become necessary due to effects of climate change.
  • He made the controversial presentation to Swedish TV during a "Future of Food" conference in Stockholm.
  • The scientist acknowledges the many taboos this idea would have to overcome.
Keep reading Show less

Russia claims world's first COVID-19 vaccine but skepticism abounds

President Vladimir Putin announces approval of Russia's coronavirus vaccine but scientists warn it may be unsafe.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced coronavirus vaccine at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020.

Credit: Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
Coronavirus
  • Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday that a COVID-19 vaccine has been approved in Russia.
  • Scientists around the world are worried that the vaccine is unsafe and that Russia fast-tracked the vaccine without performing the necessary phase 3 trials.
  • To date, Russia has had nearly 900,000 registered cases of coronavirus.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Therapy app Talkspace mined user data for marketing insights, former employees allege

    A report from the New York Times raises questions over how the teletherapy startup Talkspace handles user data.

    Talkspace.com
    Technology & Innovation
    • In the report, several former employees said that "individual users' anonymized conversations were routinely reviewed and mined for insights."
    • Talkspace denied using user data for marketing purposes, though it acknowledged that it looks at client transcripts to improve its services.
    • It's still unclear whether teletherapy is as effective as traditional therapy.
    Keep reading Show less
    Mind & Brain

    Viewing abstract art causes notable cognitive changes

    Viewing art that doesn't look like anything makes your brain take extra steps to try and get it.

    Scroll down to load more…
    Quantcast