NASA Low Budget Animation

The solar system appears to have a new ninth planet. Today, two scientists announced evidence that a body nearly the size of Neptune—but as yet unseen—orbits the sun every 15,000 years. During the solar system’s infancy 4.5 billion years ago, they say, the giant planet was knocked out of the planet-forming region near the sun. Slowed down by gas, the planet settled into a distant elliptical orbit, where it still lurks today. The new evidence comes from a pair of respected planetary scientists, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, who prepared for the inevitable skepticism with detailed analyses of the orbits of other distant objects and months of computer simulations.

Outside scientists say their calculations stack up and express a mixture of caution and excitement about the result. “I could not imagine a bigger deal if—and of course that’s a boldface ‘if’—if it turns out to be right,” says Gregory Laughlin, a planetary scientist at the University of California (UC), Santa Cruz. “What’s thrilling about it is [the planet] is detectable.”

NASA Weighs in.

  1. Rubber Hose says:

    How the sketches for the low budget animation got started:

  2. Neil deGrasse Tyson says:

    Ohh, I really must protest; it would properly be called Planet iX, dammit.

    Reguardless, let us hope that NASA remembers *metric system* this time and hasn’t Borked the orbit by 2.2×10^2 AU.

    It does highlight that the sun’s gravity can hold stuff in orbit really, really far out there — So ‘neener, neener’ to all those Nibiru naysayers that doggedly proclaimed, “If there were a giant planet out there, astronomers would have seen it by now”

    If you put the sun as “m” and the mass of the alpha centauri system as “M” there, then you should get the size of the Sun’s Hill sphere as a fraction of the distance between them.


    m = 1
    Ms = 2 (1.1 + 0.9)
    A = 4.3 ly

    r = 4.3*CUBERT(m/3M)

    r = 2.37 ly

    So the furthest that an object can orbit Sol should be about 2.37 lightyears. Though in practice it’s probably a lot closer than that because of things like radiation pressure, perturbations etc. It’s also known that planetary satellites seem to all orbit within about half that distance.

    ^^ what a nerd

    • noname says:

      When is SETI going to release its recordings of intergalactic porn!

      We know they are out there making little aliens, we just want to see, for science!

  3. MikeN says:

    Heckuva job Brownie.

  4. Tim says:

    Headline is incorrect:

    From the article:

    “appears to have a new ninth planet. ”

    “as yet unseen”

    They believe its there but haven’t found it yet.


      Their paper, published in The Astronomical Journal on Wednesday, says the odds are only .007 percent that this pattern would occur “by chance,” but that doesn’t mean there’s a 99.993 percent chance the planet is there. There are still many ways that the scientists could have made an error or overlooked some subtle source of bias, or there could be another explanation for their data. “I’d be willing to bet about 50/50 odds, maybe better, that there’s another planet out there,” said Scott Tremaine, an astronomer at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He said he places the claim “somewhere between prediction and speculation.”

      Atlantic City isn’t generating enough revenue. Let people take action on it. It’s worth the risks.

  5. Hmeyers says:

    McCullough, I’m sorry but this is a total fail.

    You made the mistake of reading the “so called news”.

    Alan Stern — top dog in the Pluto “New Horizons” mission — you know, the probe that visited Pluto back in July —

    His reaction on Twitter:

    Alan Stern: Hype
    Alan Stern: There is no discovery.

    “As Alan Stern said, ‘There is no discovery.’ It is disturbing how the mass media seems to jump at the bait offered to them.”

    • McCullough says:

      The Truth is Out There.

      I Want to Believe.

      • RADIO FREE CRIMEA says:

        I want to bet. This can be bigger than Casino Royale!

      • RADIO FREE CRIMEA says:

        The Water Is Out There! Now that we’ve ruined our water, we might survive if we find water out there. We can gamble on water and increase our odds by polluting it to get a bigger payoff due to scarcity. That’ll attract Wall Street players.

      • Hmeyers says:

        A lie gets half-way around the world before the truth gets its pants on.

        I’m not saying this is “a lie” — it’s an idea, they had a simulation that suggests their idea might be true.

        But it falls well short of a discovery. It’s a hypothetical. Not unlike Planet Tyche of a few years prior

    • Tim says:

      Stern appears irked that his baby, Pluto, lost its planetary ‘status’ — He continues to surf in the froth of the manufactroversy and may be attempting to whip up contention anew as publicity for his upcoming Pluto book.

      Brown, who has received a lot of negative press for his role in demoting Pluto to a dwarf planet, maintains there shouldn’t be any problem classifying this world as a true planet, calling it “the most planet-y of the planets in the whole Solar System.” This is due to the fact that it gravitationally dominates its neighborhood, which dwarf planets don’t do. It actually appears to dominate a larger region than any of the other planets, even Jupiter or Saturn. …

      …“One of the most startling discoveries about other planetary systems has been that the most common type of planet out there has a mass between that of Earth and that of Neptune,” said Batygin. “Until now, we’ve thought that the Solar System was lacking in this most common type of planet. Maybe we’re more normal after all.”

      They did the calculations as numerical iterations looking to fit the perturbations in the orbit of Kiper Belt object, Sedna

      …if there really was a planet with the size and orbit they had calculated, there should be a small class of Kuiper Belt objects in its path that have been tilted on their sides. A quick search through the data sets of the Minor Planet Center, at Harvard University, revealed precisely these objects, located precisely where they should be. …

      …He added, “I believe there’s a 68.3 per cent chance that it’s there. That’s the perfect frustratingly plausible yet not-assured chance. It’s perfectly tuned for maximum mystery and a heightened sense of possibility.” Do we not all feel the tug of some distant, eccentric perturber? Give it a name: God, mathematics, a parent, a child; the search for truth, or peace, or beauty. “We haven’t seen it,” Brown said of Planet Nine. “But we have felt it.”

      I don’t quite see how the ‘63.8%’ squares with their papers’ contention that those other KBO orbits intersected across the plane of the ecliptic as such would only occur by chance .007% (1 in 15000) of the time.

      They did iterative numerical simulation to yeild a configuration which accounted for perterbations of Sedna then went back and found previous observations of six other KBOs which also lends credence to their calculated 10X Earth-mass body in the prescribed orbit —

      the primary purpose of this study has been to identify a physical mechanism that can generate and maintain the peculiar clustering of orbital elements in the remote outskirts of the solar system. Here, we have proposed that the process of resonant coupling with a distant, planetary mass companion can explain the available data, and have outlined an observational test that can validate or refute our hypothesis.

      “”particles within simulations that feature an inclined perturber** generally explore highly oblique orbits as well.

      **inclined perturber =/= reclining masturbator; Though, in some cosmic, metaphysical sense, it probably should be.


    All the high budget spending goes to Russia to expand their operations.

    “I height Don Quixote, I live on Peyote,
    marihuana, morphine and cocaine.
    I never knew sadness but only a madness
    that burns at the heart and brain,”
    Excerpt from an untitled poem published in Parsons’ ill-fated Oriflamme journal

    With all the cuts we’ll be able to fund the debt with additional debt all while getting nowhere. Anybody capable of innovation or victory can’t pass a background check or is guilty of email leaks and is under investigation.

    The admiral in charge of Navy intelligence has not been allowed to see military secrets for years

    Now they’re saying trust Putin! Just don’t have tea with anybody he sent.


    British author Arthur C Clarke formulated three ‘laws’ the third of which states ‘any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’. While formulated in the context of fictional ‘universes’ of science fiction this neatly illustrates the dilemma faced by anyone – from a scientifically advance culture or otherwise – confronted by what is currently, and in the local and contemporary context, inexplicable.

    It’s fictional and nothing makes quicker work of the truth than fiction.


    We’re a decade behind and keep falling back.

    Now if everybody goes to Iowa and complains and shouts insults we’ll be safe. The AI has the new discoveries figured out. We’re gonna knock on doors and bother people at supper time with phone calls!

  9. NewFormatSux says:

    Go to the center of gravity’s pull. There you will find your missing planet.


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