Saturday, March 29, 2014

Could 'Planet X' Still be Lurking Out There?


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Could 'Planet X' Still be Lurking Out There?

By Nola Taylor Redd
Space.com
3-28-14

     The hunt for the hypothetical "Planet X" has been fruitless so far, but that doesn't mean astronomers are calling it off.

A new analysis of data collected by NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft revealed no sign of the mysterious Planet X hypothesized to exist in the outer solar system. But scientists are keeping up the search for a planet or dim star far from the sun.

ANALYSIS: Is 'Planet X 2.0' Lurking Beyond Pluto's Orbit?

"I think astronomers will continue to search for a distant companion to the sun with every new, deeper survey," Kevin Luhman of the University of Pennsylvania told Space.com by email. Luhman, who studies low-mass stars and "failed stars" known as brown dwarfs, recently published the results of his search for Planet X using WISE.

"We have a natural desire to better determine the contents of our solar system," Luhman said. "There's a vast volume of space in the outer solar system, and we would like to know what's out there."

And a recent find may give a boost to the hunt for Planet X. On Wednesday (March 26), researchers announced they had discovered a dwarf planet orbiting the sun in a distant, largely unexplored region known as the inner Oort Cloud. . . .


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