Astronomers have discovered an object, dubbed “the Goblin”, in the outer reaches of the Solar System. The dwarf planet never gets any closer to the Sun than 9.7 billion km, but experts say its orbital configuration points to the existence of a much larger, more distant planet — the elusive Planet Nine.
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I'm sorry, but Pluto sucks and I'm glad it's not a planet anymore. It's smaller than our Moon, and it's about the same size as several other distant, rocky solar system objects. Have you ever seen the way it orbits alongside its partner, Charon? Classifying it as a planet in the first place was a mistake. Can we get a better ninth planet, please?
It's been about 11 years since Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status, leaving a 2370km-sized void in our hearts. Since then, the hunt for Planet X -- aptly renamed Planet 9 -- has grown into an international movement to find such an object in the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune's orbit. Now, scientists Kat Volk and Renu Malhotra from the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory are upping the ante -- they suggest that a completely different, tenth planetary-mass object is hiding somewhere in the Kuiper Belt as well. Is someone keeping track of all these goddamn hypothetical planets?
If Planet Nine exists, it's been through one hell of an ordeal. That's the takeaway from a series of new studies that ask how in the name of Uranus a planet could have gotten itself into such a whacked-out orbit. This in turn might help explain the unlikely orbits of half a dozen Kuiper Belt objects.