The news that our solar system may house yet another planet besides the usual 8, if you take into account Pluto, took scientists by storm a couple of days ago. The fact that Planet 9’s elusiveness was caused by its sheer distance from our Sun is not entirely surprising, given how its discovery is roughly 170 years since our last solar system planet discovery, Neptune.
The reason why we only now spotted a potentially new inhabitant of our solar system is based on its gravity somewhat altering the normal orbit of the Kuiper System, a series of space objects located after Pluto. Because the light that shines on Planet 9 is 300,000 times dimmer than the one hitting Earth, scientists are still unable to actually see it.
Basically, it’s like trying to find a needle in a planet-sized haystack, because we don’t actually know exactly where to point or telescopes. Fortunately, this will no longer be the case in the near future, as further investigations conducted on the orbit of Kuiper System’s inhabitants will point out the exact location of Planet 9.
The fact that Planet 9 is around 5,000 times bigger than Pluto will also help. But this estimate is only made through mathematical equations. The planet could still potentially be smaller but a lot denser, exerting a gravitational pull similar to that of a larger planet.
An interesting fact about this planet comes from conspiracy theorists and parties who believe in doomsday events coming from outer space. Apparently, an alleged Planet X called Nibiru is believed to enter our solar system in the near future, severely disrupting the energy flow on Earth, potentially leading to our inevitable demise as a species.
True, this can all be fiction at this point, but one cannot ignore the numerous threats we are currently facing as a civilization, ranging from ultimate antibiotic resistance in bacteria and viruses to global warming and climate change. It’s safe to say that before this planet will come closer to us, we could potentially be already extinct. According to Stephen Hawking, we have around 100 years in order to fix things on our planet before the human species’ extinction becomes a grim reality.
Bearing in mind that Planet 9’s elusiveness was caused by its sheer distance from our Sun, there could potentially be other planets or planetoids near the edge of our solar system as well, without us even knowing about them. We will just have to wait and see what else scientists and astronomers discover in regards to Planet 9’s structure and other similar characteristics.