January 20, 2016

"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."

Planet Nine... I guess that's intentionally evocative of Planet 9.

51 comments:

Henry said...

Pluto need not apply.

Nonapod said...

If this ends up being verified perhaps they should call it Marduk or Nibiru.

Sal said...

Once it's discovered, another planet orbiting only 10x farther than Neptune will have to be named Planet 8.5

Quaestor said...

Lyle Talbot actually had a career after Plan 9 from Outer Space. A Christmas miracle movie could be made of his life.

Sean Gleeson said...

I don't think the aliens in Plan 9 were from "Planet 9." They were from "Space Station 7." I would have thought the nickname "Planet Nine" was evocative of "Planet Ten" from Buckaroo Bonzai. (Back when Buckaroo Bonzai was written, Pluto was considered the ninth planet, so this further one would have been tenth.)

Birkel said...

http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/25848/

Social Justice at a university.

Jon said...

My guess, is that since the original Planet 9 - Pluto - was unplaneted (my word) a few years ago, and Neptune is still Planet 8, it was (is) natural to give this the placeholder name Planet 9, until the discoverers name it (as is the custom, I believe).
Also, many years ago, when looking for a planet beyond the hypothetical (at that time) 9th, the hypothetical 10th planet was called Planet X. (X as in unknown, and also the Roman numeral for 10).

Mike said...

Planet X has an extremely elliptical orbit. Once knocked a chunk off the earth which became our moon. I knew someone who was there when it happened.

Alex said...

Is there any good science fiction novels with plots that take place on trans-Neptunian planets?

deepelemblues said...

Nibiru! The reptilian homeworld has been discovered at last. David Icke most pleased.

Smilin' Jack said...

Planet Nine... I guess that's intentionally evocative of Planet 9.

Huh? Actually, it's evocative of the fact that 9 comes after 8.

The Godfather said...

Dark, cold, distant, gaseous. Name it Hillary!

Rusty said...

What if it isn't a planet at all but a small black hole.
Just something to keep you awake at night.

Quaestor said...

Also, many years ago, when looking for a planet beyond the hypothetical (at that time) 9th, the hypothetical 10th planet was called Planet X. (X as in unknown, and also the Roman numeral for 10).

Long before that, as far back as the 1830's multiple planets beyond Uranus were proposed as solutions for unaccounted perturbations in its orbit. After Neptune was discovered in 1848 and its mass and position calculated to be insufficient to satisfy the Uranus problem astronomers continued to search for a trans-Neptunian planet. It was Percival Lowell, the guy who attributed the "canals" of mars to the labors of intelligent life, who first coined the term Planet X, which designated an undiscovered ninth planet, subsequently identified in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh and named Pluto.

As it turned out the much of the problem with the orbit of Uranus was a consequence of miscalculations of its mass, which were resolved by the Voyager missions.

Static Ping said...

Musical Interlude: Plans 1 Through 9

For the record, there are much, much worse movies than Plan 9 From Outer Space. Not saying Plan 9 is good - its terrible - but humanity's ability to make bad movies appears to be bottomless or, in some cases, pantsless.

virgil xenophon said...

The Beetles were way ahead of us:

"Number Nine?,,,,Number Nine?....Number Nine?" And the title "Revolution Number Nine" may be read as the orbit of the 9th planet around the sun, no? :)

PB said...

Hey, science is settled! Tell that planet to take a hike!

Quaestor said...

For the record, there are much, much worse movies than Plan 9 From Outer Space. Not saying Plan 9 is good - its terrible...

It's not terrible, it's terribly funny. A movie with Tor Johnson and Dudley Manlove can't help but be comedy gold. They could just stand there and provoke paroxysms, but they speak lines! (Well, Tor doesn't speak, really. He mostly grunts in a Swedish accent.) Lines written by Edward D. Wood, Jr., the man who never pushed a noun against a verb and managed to make sense.

Dare I say it? Plan 9 is more entertaining than anything Ingmar Bergman turned his hand to.

LYNNDH said...

You people are all wrong. Actually it is the Death Star that just stationed itself on a long orbit to fool the people of Earth.

Spiros Pappas said...

Wow! This planet has also been called the Death Star or Nemesis.

Carter Wood said...

Jonathan Coulton's love song from Charon to Pluto, written in reaction to Pluto's downgrading, "I'm Your Moon."

Let them shuffle the numbers
Watch them come and go
We're the ones who are out here
Out past the edge of what they know
We can only be who we are
It doesn't matter if they don't understand

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBJ8RQm0QAQ

n.n said...

Sci-fi. Perhaps. It's not the discredited theory of spontaneous human conception.

Mass; and volume? Also, with what assumptions did they observe a coherent signal?

CWJ said...

Sal wrote -

"Once it's discovered, another planet orbiting only 10x farther than Neptune will have to be named Planet 8.5"

Wow! An Ed Wood and a Fellini reference both in the same post. That's got to be a first.

FWIW, I also immediately thought of Plan 9 when I read about this elsewhere earlier. OTOH, ten times the size of earth hardly qualifies as "giant."

Static Ping said...

Quaestor, oh yeah, Plan 9 is hilariously funny. It's hilarious because it is so bad. Those worse movies are also hilariously bad, which makes them all the more entertaining.

In a sense, the absolute worst movies are those that are poorly done but boring. (See Showgirls.) Moderation in movie quality is no virtue!

Unknown said...

asteroid 2014 OL339 is in 'resonant orbit' around the earth.

http://nineplanets.org/hypo.html#moon2
http://earthsky.org/space/does-earth-have-a-second-moon

Terry said...

"Also, with what assumptions did they observe a coherent signal?"
Orbital resonances of distant planetoids. Gravity applies an acceleration over billions of years and millions of orbits, and shapes the orbits until their shape, perihelion and aphelion aren't random. What is not random is signal (though you may be misinterpreting it).

Static Ping said...

On the topic of extra planets, I'm trying to recall any pop culture references to an extra planet that put it in a faraway orbit like this one is supposed to be. Generally, it seems the extra planet is hidden behind the sun, often in the same orbit as Earth but blocked off (Gor, Terra from Gamera vs. Guiron, heaven & hell in the Lexx universe). It makes the logistics easier. The only "out there" planets I can think of are from the anime Star Blazers which had Minerva and Brumas, but the first was destroyed by the time we get to see what's left of it and the second was a not much of anything used as a defensive outpost on the edge of the solar system.

(To address recent events, Star Blazers had minimal masturbatory value, at least in the English dub. The unedited Japanese version probably has significantly more "fan service" as you will, but I have not investigated the matter sufficiently, probably because I need to get on the Trump bandwagon first.)

Original Mike said...

"Planet Nine... I guess that's intentionally evocative of Planet 9."

No, it's a gratuitous slur of Pluto.

n.n said...

Terry:

The coherent signal is observed with an assumption of an intermediate vacuum, inert dark "filler" matter and energy, and absence of other transformative influences.

Jim S. said...

Blogger Alex said...
Is there any good science fiction novels with plots that take place on trans-Neptunian planets?


My first thought was The Forever War by Joe Haldeman which takes place, partially, on an asteroid or planet outside Neptune's orbit. Here's a list from Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fictional_planets_of_the_Solar_System#Trans-Neptunian_planets

Paul said...

Maybe it's just a Vogon Planet Destructor.

No biggie as the mice have a backup Earth.

Jay Vogt said...

Carolyn Jones > Cassandra Peterson > Maila Nurmi > Yvonne De Carlo

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Terry said...

Orbital resonances of distant planetoids.

From the article:

In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun.

Maybe the author of the article was missing some facts, but it seems hard to believe that they could calculate orbital resonances of the planetoids, yet not be able to nail down the orbital period of the planet closer than a factor of 2

JCC said...

Home of Ice Nine

Jack Wayne said...

Is this the planet where we will send the Replicants?

traditionalguy said...

Maybe that's the Mormon guys' Planet where they will rule forever?

Triangle Man said...

Maybe that's the Mormon guys' Planet where they will rule forever?

Mormons each get their own planet.

Jon said...

@Quaestor: thanks for the correction. Oddly enough, I read Hoyt's "Planets X and Pluto" about 2 years ago, but garbled it in my earlier post. Serves me right for being 73.

Terry said...

Blogger Jack Wayne said...
Is this the planet where we will send the Replicants?

I've heard that it is already full of replicants.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Mormons each get their own planet."

No wonder we keep finding new ones.

Static Ping said...

The Mormons got their own planet in Starship Troopers (the terrible movie, not the book). It did not end well.

Freeman Hunt said...

Since replicants have been brought up...

The short monologue that Rutger Hauer gives as his character is dying is doubly incredible. First, it's incredible because it's an excellent performance and very moving. Second, it's incredible that it's so tremendously moving even though he's saying something so tremendously nerdy. Those are some well-written, well-performed sci-fi lines there.

CWJ said...

Freeman,

It wasn't written. Hauer adlibed it because the written lines were so lame. So that makes it triplely incredble.

David said...

Calling it Planet 9 is a direct and intended affront to Pluto. I am offended for Pluto's sake.

Paul said...

The Death Star is almost at apogee!

William said...

Were the Romans confused about changing the name from Planet X to Planet 9?

Terry said...

It's physics and data gathered from telescopes.
You start with protoplanets in a disk of gas and dust. Most of the material is in a plane, but as the planetoids form, the shapes of their orbits are random within the plane. All are elliptical (a circular orbit is a special case of an elliptical orbit).
Now, a few billion years after the solar system was formed, the orbits of distant protoplanets aren't random. Some force must have made them non-random, some force that, over thousands of millions of years, has changed the paths of planetoids that weigh millions or billions or trillions of kilograms.
"Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it."
The external force is gravity from planet 9.
This ain't rocket science.


Jon said...

@william: in their case, that would be Planet IX.

James Oswald said...

"The 12th Planet", Zecharia Sitchin

Rusty said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...
Terry said...

Orbital resonances of distant planetoids.

From the article:

In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun.

Maybe the author of the article was missing some facts, but it seems hard to believe that they could calculate orbital resonances of the planetoids, yet not be able to nail down the orbital period of the planet closer than a factor of 2


All they really know is that there is an object with a lot of mass effecting the orbits of lesser objects in its area. They can see the orbits of the planetoids and infer the rest.

aritai said...

Wonder if it has our name it? When will it brush by us? Or play billiards with our Moon. Could well be God's way of reminding us "Thou shall not place any gods before Me." A pity you didn't run any faster (away from NIMBY and the precautionary principle) to save yourself. A free market might well have saved us. Survival is directly proportional to the wealth and energy under an individual's, their family and their neighborhood's control Consider Bangladesh. I'd like to see the power of a sun in every pocket. Too bad the green's prevented that and killed us all.