Planet Nine is a hypothetical distant planet, which is said to be present in the outer regions of our Solar System. If the planet exists, Planet Nine would be five to ten times as massive as Earth.
Key Points for UPSC Prelims
- This Planet Nine is believed to be responsible for several events including the peculiar alignment of the objects in the region beyond Neptune called the Kuiper belt.
- Recently, a strange exoplanet named HD106906 b; orbiting 336 light-years away provide clues about the mysterious Planet Nine, if at all it exists.
- HD106906 b appears in the images that were taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in the year 2004. But only after undertaking follow-up observations in 2013 using a different telescope, astronomers have started to figure out that this may actually be a distinct planet.
- HD106906 is the largest known planet in our solar system and is 11 times the mass of Jupiter.
- The exoplanet takes 15,000 Earth years to complete one orbit around the pairs of stars.
- The exoplanet is very far away from its host stars. It is almost at a distance that is 730 times the distance from Earth to the sun.
- It explains why it is difficult to track the orbit of the exoplanet.
- This study related to HD106906 b was published in The Astronomical Journal.
Hubble Space Telescope
It is a space telescope that was launched in the lower Earth Orbit in the year 1990. It is one of the great 4 Observatories of NASA. The telescope was named after an American Astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble.
Planet Nine Mystery
Some Scientists believe that there is a Planet Nine on the edge of our solar system. If Planet Nine exists, it is formed in the inner solar system along with the other planets before the massive gravity of Jupiter kicked the planet beyond Pluto. The passing stars could have kept Planet Nine in our solar system; on an orbit that takes it far from our inner solar system.