STATES CHRONICLE – Astronomers all over the world are excited over a new discovery at the edge of our solar system. Whether they believe it’s real or not, Planet X might have been found, experts disagree.
Planet X has been a source of controversy for a long time. It’s the speculated 10th planet from the Sun, and part of the astronomical community believes it’s out there, while the other doesn’t.
Regardless of the community’s beliefs, a mysterious object has been spotted at the outer edges of our solar system, and there are three possible explanations for it.
Once again, the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array, or ALMA is responsible for the discovery. With it offering ten times the sensitivity and 60 times the resolution of previous imaging attempts, the scientists in Chile, where the telescope is located, were able to detect an unknown celestial body at the at merely 4 light years away.
There are three possible explanations for the mysterious object, located closer to the Alpha Centauri system.
The first one is that the object is the perennially elusive Planet X, also known as Super-Earth, a tenth planet in our solar system about which astronomers have speculated for a long time.
The second option would be that the celestial body is a cold brown star. A brown star is basically a failed star. It is bigger than Jupiter, but not big enough to produce the fusion necessary to become a star.
The third option would be that the object is a TNO, or a Trans-Neptunian Object. A trans-Neptunian object is any object that, like Pluto, orbits the Sun farther away than Neptune.
Even though the object is closer to Alpha Centauri than it is to our own system, it still belongs to the Sun. It is determined to be the farthest away object to gravitate the Sun.
Here is where the controversy regarding the newly discovered mysterious stranger begins.
First of all, the paper on it was published as soon as the object was discovered, without any further analysis being performed in order to further establish its nature.
The scientists who published the paper claimed they want to be challenged, and that the astronomical community should help them to further investigate the potential Planet X.
However, the community is split on this occasion. Some astronomers are excited about the still very plausible existence of Planet X, while others are claiming that the lack of data is due to a publicity stunt.
Whichever side is right, one thing is for certain. There is a 10th celestial body orbiting the sun, and its nature is still unknown.
Image source: Wikimedia