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Astronomers pinpointed possible location of ninth planet

Astronomers pinpointed possible location of ninth planet New data refine the potential location of the mysterious ninth planet (photo: Pixabay)

The orbits of some distant objects beyond Neptune can only be explained by the influence of the gravity of the ninth planet. Scientists from the California Institute of Technology have conducted new calculations that have allowed them to refine the search area for this mysterious celestial object, according to ScienceAlert.

What is known about the ninth planet

Back in 2015, researchers provided arguments supporting the existence of the ninth planet. They analyzed the trajectories of several groups of trans-Neptunian objects and concluded that such orbits could only arise under the influence of a massive body acting as a shepherd for these objects.

In the new study, scientists used big data from the Pan-STARRS1 observation program for more accurate orbit calculations. This allowed them to determine that the hypothetical Ninth Planet's mass should be within the range of two to four Earth masses. They also ruled out 78% of previously highlighted areas proposed by other studies as possible locations for Planet X.

However, astronomers do not exclude the possibility of other explanations for the trajectories of trans-Neptunian objects. There is currently no single version that fully encompasses all the details of the behavior of these distant celestial bodies. Therefore, the search for the ninth planet will continue.

Searching for planets using calculations rather than direct observations is not new to humanity. For example, Neptune was discovered in 1846 thanks to the prediction of its location by astronomer and mathematician Urbain Le Verrier, who calculated the influence of an unknown celestial body on Uranus's orbit. Knowing where to look, astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle discovered Neptune.

Also, scientists have calculated how many planets of the Milky Way Galaxy may harbor life.