If Planet Nine Really Exists, What Would It Look Like?

Posted: Apr 9 2016, 12:42am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 10 2016, 9:30am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

What Planet Nine Looks Like If it Really Exists?
Simulated structure of planet candidate 9. Credit: Esther Linder, Christoph Mordasini, Universität Bern

Swiss researchers have modeled the evolution of putative Planet Nine and tried to estimate how big, bright and warm it could actually be.

Earlier this year, astronomers speculated that there is a large, icy planet lurking on the edge of our solar system, just past Neptune’s orbit.

Though, the planet is not directly observed yet, it was estimated that the putative planet nine is so far away that it could take 10,000 to 20,000 years to orbit the Sun. It is about 10 times more massive than the Earth and has a temperature of minus 226 degrees Celsius.

Now, Swiss researchers have tried to work out what the planet looks like if it existed and how large, bright and warm it could actually be. Based on all the available data surrounding the hypothetical planet, researchers have modeled the evolution of Planet Nine. They assume that Planet 9 is a smaller version of Neptune and Pluto – the ice giants covered by layers of hydrogen and helium.

“For me candidate Planet 9 is a close object, although it is about 700 times further away as the distance between the Earth and the Sun.” Esther Linder, astrophysicist from University of Bern said in a statement.

They calculate that the object has a present-day radius equal to 3.7 Earth radii and is extremely cold, minus 226 degree Celsius or 47 Kelvin. “This means that the planet’s emission is dominated by the cooling of its core, otherwise the temperature would only be 10 Kelvin,” said Linder. “Its intrinsic power is about 1000 times bigger than its absorbed power.” It is an indication that the Sun has not contributed much to the total radiation released by the Planet Nine and the planet is more brighter in infrared than in visual wavelength.

Researchers have also attempted to explain why this putative planet has not been detected by telescopes so far. When they calculated the brightness of bigger and smaller planets of various orbits, they found there is a very slim chance to track an object with a mass of less than 20 Earth masses especially it is the farthest point of its orbit around the Sun.

However, researchers believe that the powerful telescopes of future like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope under construction near Cerro Tololo in Chile should be in a better position to find or rule out the presence of Planet Nine.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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