This is something we feel compelled to blog about, although it’s unrelated to creationism and we don’t have anything profound to say about it. PhysOrg has this headline: Researchers find evidence of a real ninth planet.
We know you’re going to click over there to read it, so we only need to give you a few excerpts. PhysOrg says:
Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun.
This is a link to the paper on the new planet, published in the Astronomical Journal: EVIDENCE FOR A DISTANT GIANT PLANET IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM. You can read it online without a subscription. Here’s a bit more from PhysOrg:
The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet’s existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations but have not yet observed the object directly. “This would be a real ninth planet,” says Brown, the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy. “There have only been two true planets discovered since ancient times, and this would be a third. It’s a pretty substantial chunk of our solar system that’s still out there to be found, which is pretty exciting.”
The two “true planets” discovered since ancient times are Neptune and Uranus. That excludes Pluto, of course. This last excerpt is for all you Pluto fans who are still mourning over that orb’s reclassification:
Brown, well known for the significant role he played in the demotion of Pluto from a planet to a dwarf planet adds, “All those people who are mad that Pluto is no longer a planet can be thrilled to know that there is a real planet out there still to be found,” he says. “Now we can go and find this planet and make the solar system have nine planets once again.”
This new planet hasn’t actually been observed, so it’s not yet confirmed that the thing exists. There have been mistaken discoveries before, notably Vulcan. We wrote about that in one of this blog’s first posts: When Gravity was a Theory in Crisis.
In closing, we should mention that the ancient system of astrology has somehow been unaffected by the discovery of new planets. That’s because, as with creationism, when a belief is unrelated to reality, it’s true forever.
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