Astronomers hit us with some exciting news this week: The potential discovery of a whole new planet about the size of Neptune within our solar system.
It’s only been a couple of days, but the number of questions this raises is innumerable. If it exists, what does it look like? What will we name it? How will this affect my horoscope?
And the biggest question of all: Does this mean they were right about Planet X?
Well, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. The video up there is a great overview of the discovery provided by Science Magazine, showing us the mysterious planet’s incredibly long orbit, and explaining how astronomers determined it was (hopefully) there.
Here’s the thing: Astronomers haven’t observed the planet itself. Not yet. Instead, they’ve found a small cluster of interstellar objects arranged in a “unique configuration” while orbiting the Sun. As stated in the video, “there’s only a 1 in 15,000 chance that this orbital clustering is a coincidence,” meaning that there’s something else out there affecting those objects – possibly a planet. This is similar to how Neptune was discovered.
But, back to that one big question, is this the mythical Planet X that we’ve heard so much about? Or worse, the destroyer of worlds, Nibiru? Some of the chatter on conspiracy websites seems to point in that direction, but, well…
As usual, NASA doesn’t want anyone to get too carried away. There’s always more work to be done before anything is confirmed. They are, however, certainly happy that people are excited about space again.