Is Planet Nine Really a Black Hole?

By: Jonathan Xu

For many years, astronomers and astrophysicists have suspected there to be a ninth planet, dubbed Planet Nine for the time being. The suspicions are due to the abnormal orbital paths of certain celestial objects in the kuiper belt and beyond. Only a body with an enormous amount of mass would be able to influence the orbit paths of those bodies as much as they are. Using these predictions, physicists have discovered much about this elusive Planet Nine.

Some astronomers have believed that Planet Nine may be a very small black hole. Due to the nature of a black hole, and how it can even suck light in so that it is unable to escape, it is extremely difficult to detect a black hole. The theory regarding Planet Nine being a black hole has not been confirmed, although scientists at Harvard University along with Black Hole Initiative, or BHI, have discovered a way to detect black holes using the radiation that black holes emit.

When black holes consume comets or other bodies, the body being consumed emits radiation on the way into the mouth of the black hole. By detecting this disruptive radiation, scientists can detect the presence of a black hole. Using the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, or LSST, a team would be able to detect smaller bursts of radiation, which are much more frequent then the obvious larger bursts of radiation.

The subject of Planet Nine is one of much speculation, as most theories point towards the conclusion that there is indeed a large planet, or planet-massed black hole (about the size of a grapefruit), which would explain the peculiar mass and clustering of objects past the orbit of Neptune. In spite of this evidence, some continue to point out that this may just be an observation bias with incomplete surveys (observations). Hopefully, this project is able to put this subject of extreme controversy and speculation to rest through its conclusion, which we have yet to see.


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