The hidden planet is possibly lurking in our solar system, just waiting to be discovered.

Key takeaways

  • Astronomers speculate there may be an undiscovered ninth planet in our solar system, but it’s not confirmed.
  • The unknown object could be a planet, a unique black hole, or composed of dark matter.
  • Strange behaviors of objects in the kuiper belt beyond neptune suggest planet nine’s possible existence.
  • Scientists propose locating planet nine by detecting heat from its potential moons due to tidal forces.
  • While still theoretical, pursuing this approach could reveal the elusive planet or another fascinating cosmic object.

For a few years now, there has been conjecture that our Solar System may include a ninth planet that is not Pluto.

Planet Nine has no name, no confirmation, and no information. It’s not anything we’ve been able to find, and we’re not even positive that it would even be a planet if we did. It might be a unique form of black hole or be composed only of dark matter.

But we want to discover it, whatever it is, if it exists. It would explain a great deal of the peculiar behavior that astronomers find in objects in the Kuiper belt beyond Neptune. Furthermore, a recent preprint suggests that one approach to locate it might be by looking through the moons it may have gradually gathered.

It’s not too unlikely that this fictitious planet has acquired a few moons. Trans-Neptunian Objects, or TNOs, are bodies around the size of Pluto that are partially populating the region of space where we believe Planet Nine could be situated. It’s quite possible that Planet Nine, which is thought to be between five and ten times the mass of Earth, has imprisoned a few TNOs in its gravitational field pull.

It would appear that finding a planet’s moons would be more difficult than finding the planet itself. After all, they’re minuscule in addition to being far away.

However, as stated in the preprint, tidal heating is the secret.

There is a bit more to tides than merely the ocean’s rise and fall. They originate from an unequal gravitational force on a celestial body. Each body’s gravity exerts force on the other when they are very near to one another, such as a planet and a moon. The force is greatest at the closest point.

The body is somewhat distorted into a football shape by this unequal strain. The orientation of the distortion shifts along with the bodies as they travel around one another. This implies that the entire body is constantly changing form, which causes friction inside the item and heat production.

And that’s how the moons of Planet Nine would be located. We cannot detect any light, heat, or sound coming from Planet Nine, but we may detect the heat created by tidal forces from those moons. They probably wouldn’t become very hot, so the detection would be challenging, but it would be possible.

This is simply a concept as of now. However, if Planet Nine exists, it may be a worthwhile target to pursue. After all, one of the main ways we study black holes is by using light from stuff surrounding them.

A dark planet, why not?

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