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New Horizons to look for Planet X

Scientists are increasingly entertiaining the idea that Planet X may be real and could account for observations that so far has not been adequately explained by the scientific community.

Image Credit: NASA

NASA’s New Horizons probe has already wowed the world with its high quality, close up photos of Pluto and its moons. Now the probe is taking on another mission, hunting for the mysterious “Planet X” in the Kuiper Belt.

Conspiracy theorists have long claimed that NASA has covered up the existence of Planet X, also known as Nibiru in that community. Fringe theories abound but the most popular one foresees a cataclysmic collision between Earth and Nibiru in the early 21st Century. NASA has vehemently denied the claims.

Planet X has long been the stuff of legends, but some scientists believe that the mysterious planet may exist somewhere in the Kuiper Belt, a debris field at the outer edge of the solar system. The New Horizons probe is now being sent to investigate a mysterious object in the Kuiper Belt, which for now appears to be a large icy rock.

So far some 1,500 different objects have been discovered in the Kuiper Belt. Most of these objects are quite small, barely qualifying for dwarf planet status, if qualifying for planet status at all. Still, some theorize that a large planet, potentially bigger than Earth, and even some of the gas giants like Neptune, could be out in the Kuiper Belt.

It’s not people with tin foil on their head who are proposing the existence of Planet X either. A report appeared in the prestigious journal Nature in 2014, compiling evidence from the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii that indicated that there could be a “perturber”, or large gravitationally disturbing object, lurking out at the edges of the solar system.

Planet X was first proposed by Percival Lowell, a wealthy Bostonian who founded an observatory in Arizona. Lowell was looking to explain Uranus’s unique orbit, which he believe was being affected by a large object located out towards the edges of the solar system.

The mysterious potential planet has become a sort of “holy grail” for astronomers ever since. Owing to the potential planet’s distance from the Earth, and the fact that it doesn’t produce its own light, searching for Planet X has proven to be difficult. Gravitational signatures suggest, however, that the planet is real.

Astronomers widely agree that Planet X, does not exist, but the concept of Planet X has been revived by a minority of astronomers to explain anomalies observed in the outer Solar System. In popular culture Planet X has become associated with being the source of mysterious phenomena like UFO sightings and crop circles.

Conspiracy theorists have long claimed that NASA has covered up the existence of Planet X also known as Nibiru in the community. Fringe theories abound but the most popular one foresees a cataclysmic collision between Earth and Nibiru in the early 21st Century, Earthlings have supposedly been warned from Aliens inhabiting the Zeta Reticuli star system

In depth article about Planet X from Wikipedia