Scientists Have Found Evidence of a 9th, Super-Earth Sized Planet
For years there has been speculation as to whether a ninth planet exists beyond the currently known threshold of our solar system. This planet has now been discovered and it’s 20,000-year orbital period may explain why we’ve had trouble finding it.
By observing the strange elliptical orbits of a number of large asteroids, scientists have determined that a massive, rocky planet must exist in the outer reaches of our solar system. They found that these asteroids have such elongated orbits beyond the Kuiper Belt, the ring of bolides beyond Neptune, that there must be a large planetary body pulling them out.
A newly discovered asteroid, 2015 BP519, added to the evidence from a group of what astronomers call Trans-Neptunian Objects, that swing out in strange directions. And though astronomers haven’t pinpointed the planet, it is the most plausible explanation for these TNOs’ orbital paths.
Theories of this Planet Nine, or what some have referred to as Nibiru, have sparked conspiracies for decades, including many apocalyptic ones that (thankfully) never came to fruition. But the latest evidence of a real ninth planet (sorry, Pluto) may shed some light on how it affects Earth.
Thought to be orbiting at 500 times the distance between the Earth and the sun, Planet Nine would be nearly two-thirds the size of Neptune, making it the fifth largest planet in the system, or roughly 10 times the size of Earth.
But this planet’s orbit is so far beyond the orbits of the other planets in our solar system, that it would take somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 years to complete one rotation. The planet is so far away, that if you looked back at Earth from it’s aphelion, you would be seeing light that left seven days prior.
For years it has been a mystery why the inner eight planes of our solar system are tilted 6 degrees off the sun’s equator. But now the influence of Planet Nine’s orbit over the course of billions of years may be the answer.
The estimated size of Planet Nine would also make a lot of sense in that the majority of other solar systems we’ve observed have “super-Earth” sized planets. In fact, it’s the most common sized planet, making our solar system not so different from others out there if this new planet is confirmed.
Whether Planet Nine is currently having, or had, any significant impact on Earth remains to be seen. One of the lead proponents of its existence, Michael Brown, believes the planet poses no threat to our existence, nor does he believe it to have caused any mass extinctions in the past. The planet orbits beyond the Kuiper Belt, but within the Oort Cloud, the next big field of comets, meaning it shouldn’t dislodge and send any icy bodies on a collision course with Earth.
For now, the planet remains theoretical, but highly probable and depending on where it is in its orbit, it could be observed by an amateur or require substantial telescopes at a large observatory. Until then, the tentative discovery shows just how little we know about the surroundings in our own solar system, and how much more we have to learn about the rest of our cosmic neighborhood.
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Alleged Volcanic Eruption on Mars Sparks NASA Cover-Up Conspiracy
Conspiracy and speculation erupted across the internet yesterday over an alleged volcanic plume stretching roughly 1,200 miles across the Martian atmosphere. The plume appears to originate from the planet’s supposedly dormant Arsia Mons volcano.
Images of the activity were taken on Sept. 24 by the Mars Express orbiter and later published by the European Space Agency.
According to NASA, volcanic activity on the red planet ceased some 50 million years ago after Earth’s Cretaceous-Paleogene event that killed off the dinosaurs, but some believe this latest imaging shows otherwise.
Spurred by conjecture from a popular YouTube conspiracy channel, claims of volcanic activity on Mars reignited theories of government cover-ups and strange happenings within NASA, the FBI and other controversial government agencies.
Many are pointing to last month’s Sunspot National Observatory shutdown, the switch to a limited “safe mode” on the Hubble and Chandra telescopes, and the sudden failure of NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover as evidence that strange events occurring on the planet may be intentionally obfuscated.
Arsia Mons is located within a tightly situated line of volcanoes on Mars, collectively known as Tharsis Montes, which lie in the shadow of Olympus Mons – the largest volcano in our solar system (more than twice the size of Mt. Everest).
Arsia Mons happens to be the planet’s second largest volcano in terms of volume and is home to a series of caves NASA has studied as the best places to situate research and habitation modules. Could there be something already underway?
“This project developed a revolutionary system to exploit the novel idea of extraterrestrial cave use” stated a project summary published in 2004, further explaining that two “missions” were tested to gather data.
Arsia Mons is known to have an annual whether phenomenon in which sunlight warms the area around the volcano, bringing small amounts of dust into the air. Rising air currents bring this dust and other fine sediment above the volcano’s caldera into a thick, spiraling cloud that is big enough to be seen by a probe orbiting the planet.
But the latest plume looks nothing like the spiraling cloud recorded from this phenomenon in the past. Instead it appears as more of a streaking trail that’s persisted over the course of weeks.
NASA has attributed the plume to water ice clouds that are gathering over the volcano. The agency says that at certain times of year, the small amounts of water in the atmosphere freeze and condense near areas of high altitude, notably above this volcanic region.
If this is the case, then maybe there’s significantly more water on the red planet than previously believed and we should study the areas it’s sublimating from.
But then again, there’s always some simple explanation from NASA that seems to make everyone’s concerns seem trivial. Is this really just a storm or are they covering up something far greater?
For more on the drips of disclosure coming from NASA’s Mars operations, check out this episode of Deep Space: