Planet Nine - A New Planet Beyond Pluto?

 

Astronomers may have discovered a ninth planet, beyond Pluto,  in our solar systemPlanet Nine, as it is called, may have ten times the mass of the earth and four times the size. The planet, which has not yet been detected by telescopes, may take up 20,000 years to orbit the sun.

The closest the new planet comes to the sun may be about  15 times the distance of Pluto.  Then it heads out to a distance of 93 billion miles, or 75 times farther than the dwarf planetScientists are hoping to detect it when it comes closer to earth. Today's telescopes are so strong that the planet should be able to be seen within the next few years.

Astronomers made the discovery when they saw small objects that were aligned in a row in the Kuiper Belt, a region that contains countless objects that orbit the sun near Pluto. This meant that they might be pulled towards another , far larger object, that couldn't be seen.

The former planet Pluto is also thought to be one of the Kuiper Belt objects which have unusual orbits, unlike the orbits of the other planets. Planet Nine may be an object that was knocked out of the solar system when it was created.

 

For a long time scientists and astronomers have wondered if there were any planets  outside the orbit of Pluto. Ironically, the astronomers who discovered the possible existence of Planet Nine are the same who degraded Pluto to a  dwarf planet a few years ago.

 

Possible Orbit of Planet  Nine

Possible orbit of Planet Nine

 

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Words

  • align = to put things in a straight line
  • astronomer = person who studies the stars and planets
  • contain = to have in it
  • countless = so many that you cannot count them
  • create = make
  • billion = a  thousand million
  • degrade = here: to lower the status from planet to dwarf planet
  • detect = discover something that is not easy to see
  • discover = to find something for the first time
  • distance = the space between two things
  • dwarf planet = object that goes around the sun but is smaller than a planet
  • existence = the situation that something exists
  • former = in the past
  • head out = move away
  • ironically = something that is the opposite of what you would expect
  • knock out = hit
  • orbit = to move around
  • scientist = person who is trained in science and works in a lab
  • size = how big something is
  • solar system = the sun and the planets that go around it
  • telescope = object that looks like a tube and is used for making faraway things look larger
  • towards = to ; in something's direction
  • unusual = not normal, not like the others