Planet Nine is a theoretical large body on the fringes of the solar system past Pluto, the Kuiper Belt and beyond the gaze of Earth’s telescopes. Although Planet Nine is yet to be directly observed, evidence of its existence is mounting. Astronomer Michael Brown of the University of Southern California believes the mystery planet is 20 times farther away than Neptune but is similar in size to the frozen planet. The astronomer is also certain scientists will soon hone in on Planet Nine’s location and when they do, the planet’s gravitational effects on the rest of the system will be revealed.
Speaking to Linda Moulton Howe on Coast to Coast AM radio, the expert said: “In the inner part of the solar system, inner being the parts we know of, Planet Nine has no effect whatever, on the inner planets and you can figure out why.
“It’s actually seven times the mass of the Earth and it is 500 times further away from the Sun than the Earth is.
“Jupiter, on the other hand, is 300 times the mass of the Earth and it’s only five times further from the Sun than the Earth is.
“So, Jupiter has a tremendous effect on the planets in the solar system and nobody sits around and is worried Jupiter’s suddenly going to come to destroy us.
“Planet Nine is really far away and quite a bit smaller than Jupiter. It’s effect is really minimal.
“The one effect that it does have is that over four billion years it is capable of slowly tilting the orbits of the planets but even that is a very, very minor effect.”
The astronomer then said there is a possibility the mystery planet will be confirmed as early as January 2019.
Dr Brown and fellow researcher Konstantin Batygin originally presented their Planet Nine hypothesis in a nine-page paper titled Observational Constraints on the Orbit and Location of Planet Nine in the Outer Solar System.
The astronomers have since focused the crux of their research on locating the elusive planet.
Dr Brown said: “I’m always very optimistic. Konstantin Batygin, my partner in all this, is much more pessimistic and so you should take my optimism with a grain of salt and then take his pessimism with a grain of salt.
“He thinks it will take us another 10 years, I think it will take one year.
“So, maybe that means still another three years but I’m still very optimistic.”
Earlier this month, Professor Batygin said Planet Nine is a super-Earth-like planet between five to 10 times the size of our home world.
The astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology said: “ “At five Earth masses, Planet Nine is likely to be very reminiscent of a typical extrasolar super-Earth.”
Astronomers believe Planet Nine is the reason why objects in the Kuiper Belt, a region of asteroids past Pluto, tend to group together.