Researchers from the University of Bern in Switzerland have shed new light on the mysterious ninth planet in the outer solar system.
Earlier this year, scientists made the astounding announcement that there may be a massive mystery planet lurking in the outer reaches of the solar system. Researchers noticed a strong gravitational effect acting on some of Pluto’s moons, which led them to deduce that there must be an unseen massive body beyond the Kuiper belt.
According to a report from CS Monitor, a team of astrophysicists from the University of Bern in Switzerland recently unveiled a model chronicling the possible evolution of the mysterious Planet Nine. The study was published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
The team’s model shows the potential size, brightness, and even temperature of the planet. According to Professor Christoph Mordasini, the lead author of the recent research, “With our study, candidate Planet Nine is now more than a simple point mass, it takes shape having physical properties.”
Astrophysicists Michael Brown and Konstantin Batygin from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA initially announced their study making a case for Planet Nine’s existence in January. The planet would exist so far from the sun, however, that it’s likely shrouded in a cloud of darkness, only adding to the mystery.
While a visual confirmation of Planet Nine remains elusive, scientists are confident that a massive body that could only be a planet is acting on some of the smaller bodies near Pluto.
The recent study was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the National Center for Competence in Research. Together with his PhD student Esther Linder, Professor Mordasini developed a model that allows them to see possible orbital paths for the strange planet.
The team asserted that if Planet Nine does indeed exist, it would likely have a mass nearly ten times that of Earth, and a frigid temperature of 47 degrees Kelvin, or nearly -375 degrees Fahrenheit. Linder says that the planet would likely emitting heat from its core – if it relied on the sun for warming, the planet would be much colder.
A press release from the University of Bern describing the details of the new model can be found here.