Astronomers have announced compelling evidence that reinforces the case for the long-rumored planet known as Planet X.
As pointed out by USA Today, researchers announced Tuesday the discovery of a large, distant object about 7.9 billion miles from the sun. The body, officially called “2015 TG387,” was first spotted about three years ago at the Japanese Subaru 8-meter telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii, where researchers were on the hunt for a mysterious ninth planet. The object was later observed through the Magellan telescope at Chile’s Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory and Arizona’s Discovery Channel Telescope. Scientists theorize that TG387—a.k.a. The Goblin—was pushed into its path by an undiscovered planet’s gravitational pull.
“We think there could be thousands of small bodies like 2015 TG387 out on the solar system’s fringes, but their distance makes finding them very difficult,” University of Hawaii's David Tholen said in a statement. “Currently we would only detect 2015 TG387 when it is near its closest approach to the sun. For some 99 percent of its 40,000-year orbit, it would be too faint to see.”
Researchers say there are multiple extremely distant space rocks that share similar orbit patterns and tilts, as if they were pushed into their respective paths. Scientists say these similarities bolster the evidence of Planet X’s existence.
“These distant objects are like breadcrumbs leading us to Planet X. The more of them we can find, the better we can understand the outer Solar System and the possible planet that we think is shaping their orbits—a discovery that would redefine our knowledge of the Solar System’s evolution,” astronomer Scott Sheppard said.
Researcher Chad Trujillo of Northern Arizona University echoed Sheppard’s claim.
“What makes this result really interesting is that Planet X seems to affect 2015 TG387 the same way as all the other extremely distant solar system objects. These simulations do not prove that there's another massive planet in our solar system, but they are further evidence that something big could be out there.”