posted on Jan, 13 2017 @ 07:27 AM
originally posted by: Icarus Rising
I am skeptical. Not about the existence of Planet 9 (X, Niburu, whatever you want to call it), but Sheppard's statement that they don't know where it
is. They should be able to calculate where it is given its influence on the solar system, shouldn't they?
Their calculations can determine its orbit (or a wide swath that could be its orbit), but not where it is along that orbital swath. If they find
additional Kuiper Belt objects that (hypothetically) have been perturbed by Planet 9, they maybe
they might be able to rule out certain parts
of its orbit along which it currently might be and concentrate on other parts of its orbit. However, for the most part, right now they can only
determine its orbit, but not its current position.
How they find planets, dwarf planets, asteroids, and comets is by taking a series of images of the sky and overlaying those images, searching for an
object that might have moved differently against the background of stars.
Planet 9 is difficult to find because its calculated orbit takes it through the part of the sky (as seen from Earth's perspective) with the densest
amount of background stars -- the Milky Way (the region of our sky that way look towards the center of our galaxy). Any movement of a planet (or
dwarf planet, asteroid, or comet) moving against that very dense background of stars would be very difficult to detect because of all of the visual
"noise" from those background stars. On top of that, Planet 9 would be very very dim relative to most of those stars and thus would be drowned out by
them -- i.e., a picture might show Planet 9, but it might be right up against (or right on top of) a star and thus not be noticed.
Plus that part of its orbit (the part that takes it in front of the Milky Way background) is thought to be the part of its orbit that is farthest away
from us, so the apparent movement of Planet 9 in these series of images will be very very tiny. Again, the density of the background of stars might
render that tiny motion is undetectable, unless we get lucky enough to see it moving against a relatively blank part of the sky between two of those
stars -- but their is very little relative relative blank sky to be seen in that portion of the sky.
The Search for Planet Nine
The top plot shows our estimated orbital path. The red lines show the approximate outlines of the Milky Way galaxy, which we include in the plot as a
warning: it is a lot harder to find objects when the bright Milky Way galaxy is in their background, as we witnessed with all of the difficulties that
the New Horizons team had in finding Kuiper belt objects to go to after the Pluto flyby. If Planet Nine happens to be at one of these two places in
its orbit it will, unfortunately, be much harder to find. The blue line shows the ecliptic -- the path of the planets across the sky -- which shows
you than Planet Nine is tilted by about 30 degrees compared to the other planets of our solar system. The ~20 degree width of the estimated path of
Planet Nine is largely due to the uncertainties in inclination and argument of perihelion.
edit on 2017-1-13 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)