According to a team of astronomers, planet 9 does not exist

New York: A team of astronomers who swindled around 87% of the southern sky have yet to find any trace of Planet Nine in our solar system.

Pluto, discovered in January 1930, was previously known as Planet Nine. However in 2006, astronomers reclassified Pluto as a dwarf planet.

While astronomers continue to suspect that there may be a previously unknown Planet 9 in the distant solar system, the new search at millimeter wavelengths has failed to find a convincing candidate.

Led by Sigurd Naess of the University of Oslo’s Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, astronomers traced the planet using data from a 6-meter Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) in Chile.

Although the ACT was designed to study cosmic microwave background radiation, its relatively high angular resolution and sensitivity make it suitable for this type of research.

Astronomers scanned around 87% of the sky accessible from the Southern Hemisphere over a six-year period, then processed the millimeter images with a variety of techniques, including clustering and stacking methods that could uncover faint sources but at the cost of losing position information. .

“The search found numerous sources of tentative candidates (approximately 3,500 of them) but none could be confirmed, and there were no statistically significant detections,” the team said in a statement. .

“Scientists, however, were able to rule out with 95% confidence a Planet 9 with the above estimated properties in the study area, results which are generally consistent with other null searches for Planet 9,” said he added.

Astronomers also believe that a previously unknown ninth planet must be lurking in the outer reaches of the solar system, possibly in the giant Oort cloud of objects that begins hundreds of astronomical units (au ) of the Sun and extends outwards.

The speculative “Planet 9” is estimated to be about 5-10 Earth masses in size and orbiting about 400-800 AU from the Sun.

But, “a planet at this distance would be extremely difficult to spot in normal optical searches of the sky due to its weakness, even for telescopes like PanSTARRS and LSST,” the team noted.

While the new results only cover about 10-20% of the possibilities, other millimeter-sensitive facilities are coming online and should be able to complete this search for Planet 9 as assumed, the astronomers noted. .

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