Ghost Planet

28 October 2016

At… … NASAs Kepler Observatory has spotted lots of planets that orbit cool small stars – and they are the most common kind of stars in our galaxy. As such, there should be zillions of planets out there – but the observatory is only catching the big ones at the moment. Resolution needs to improve. So far they have found 63 planets smaller than Neptune and one of them is in a 'habitable'zone.

At … we are back to Planet Nine (Planet X in some conspiratorial web sites) that is thought may orbit beyond Pluto – way out on the edge of the universe. The ghost planet has yet to be seen (but how many people have seen a ghost) but big telescopes are now scanning a particular area of the sky in anticipation. Basically, no one knows where it is or even if it exists. It seems computer models might be driving the latest search for Planet Nine, as modelling seems to suggest its gravitational pull may explain the tilted orbits of several objects in the Kuiper Belt. On the other hand – it may not.

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