Author Topic: Planet X myth debunked  (Read 183 times)

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Online EC

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Planet X myth debunked
« on: March 16, 2014, 07:28:21 AM »

It was an elusive planet that for 200 years appeared to explain Uranus's wobbly orbit. And there was the sister sun theorized to be near our solar system that caused asteroids to swerve toward Earth.

There is just one problem: neither "Planet X" nor "Nemesis" ever existed, researchers now say.

Or probably not.

"The outer solar system probably does not contain a large gas giant planet ("Planet X"), or a small, companion star ("Nemesis")," concluded University of Pennsylvania astronomer Kevin Luhman, who directed the study using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) telescope.

The results were published in the most recent edition of The Astrophysical Journal.

Most theories had estimated Planet X to be up to four times the size of Jupiter—the biggest planet in our solar system.

They suggested it would be found some 1,486 billion kilometers (923 billion miles) from the sun, or about 10,000 times farther than the Earth's orbit.

But the images gathered by the telescope did not detect any object larger than Jupiter.

Luhman doesn't rule out the possibility that a planet is lurking somewhere in the asteroid belt.

It would be hard to find if it were closely aligned with a bright star that blinds the telescope or were much smaller than had been theorized.

A computer generated NASA montage obtained 29 August 2002 from images collected by the Voyager 2 spacecraft shows Neptune (Lower-L) as it would appear from a spacecraft approaching Triton, Neptune's largest moon

But after this latest survey, Luhman said the odds of finding one are very unlikely: "That is like a one in a hundred chance."

More at link.
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Offline jmyrlefuller

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Re: Planet X myth debunked
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2014, 02:33:10 PM »
I remember back in high school when astronomy was discussed. Our 1970s-era textbook openly talked about the theoretical Planet X with a highly elliptical orbit as if it were almost certain to exist; we just hadn't found it yet. Growing up in elementary/middle school, the topic never came up and this old text was the first I had ever heard of the theory.

I'm glad that issue is getting put to rest.
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