9 things you need to know about Planet Nine

Yes, there’s evidence of a real ninth planet – and it’s pretty big.

9 things you need to know about Planet Nine

Researchers at Caltech – that’s the California Institute of Technology – have found evidence of a ninth planet. It was discovered through mathematical modelling and computer simulations – and at the moment it just has the nickname of, well, Planet Nine.

Here’s what we know about the planet so far…

1. Believed to be a “true” planet, it’s 10 times the size of Earth and 5,000 times the mass of Pluto. 10 TIMES bigger than us. Planet Nine(Caltech/R Hurt (IPAC)/PA)

2. On average it’s 20 times further from the sun than Neptune – the furthest planet from the sun in our solar system – which orbits at a distance of 2.8 billion miles.

3. Because of its distance and elongated orbit, Planet Nine takes 10,000 to 20,000 years to complete one journey around the sun.

4. If this is correct, it would never get closer to the sun than 200 times the distance between the sun and our own planet.

5. Planet Nine could be the real ninth planet in our solar system, after Pluto was demoted to the status of “dwarf planet.” Poor Pluto.

6. Scientists inferred Planet Nine’s existence from the gravitational influence it was having on objects with unusual orbits in the Kuiper Belt – the ring of rocky bodies surrounding Neptune.

7. Experts say this is the first time in over 150 years there’s been solid evidence to suggest we still do not have a full headcount of all the planets in our solar system. Basically, who knows what else is out there?

8. This isn’t the first time the existence of the planet has been predicted. The idea of a mythical “Planet X” goes back centuries – and even features in the folklore of UFO watchers and doomsday prophets.

9. A real hunt for the mysterious body was first started in 1905 by Percival Lowell. He predicted it would lie beyond Neptune and his calculations led astronomers to find Pluto in 1930.

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