The existence of a planet lurking at the edge of our solar system has been widely discussed for years.
The planet, often referred to as Nemesis or Planet X or even "The Death Star" has been considered a controversial topic
This is why the latest announcement from famed astronomer Rodney Gomes, from the national Observatory of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro has
caused a lot of stir among his colleagues.
Speaking at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society earlier this month, Rodney Gomes presented complex calculations and computer models,
indicating the existence of this world as a genuine possibility.
If Gomes is correct, the unknown planet, beyond the orbit of Neptune is about four times the size of Earth. Its existence was proposed based
on observations of other, small bodies in the area, which appear to be constantly perturbed by something.
Astronomers have suspected for some time that a massive world beyond the dwarf planet Pluto could explain the peculiar motions of objects in the Kuiper Belt.
These celestial bodies are taking abnormal courses through space, which cannot be readily explained through other phenomena or gravitational interactions.
Gomes studies are considered promising, but still inconclusive.
More research is needed before astronomers can confirm and announce the presence of an unknown, massive planet at the edge of our solar system.
Gomes' models also included the dwarf planet Sedna. Since it was first discovered, this object has exhibited anomalous trajectories beyond Neptune's
orbit, which astronomers cannot explain even now.
In fact, the mysterious Sedna, spotted on an elongated 12,000-year-long orbit around the sun, is a major clue to the
existence of Nemesis.
“Sedna is a very odd object – it shouldn’t be there! It never comes anywhere close to any of the giant planets or the
sun. It’s way, way out there on this incredibly eccentric orbit," according to Mike Brown, who discovered Sedna in
A host of other objects, located close to Sedna, exhibit similar deviations from the courses astronomers expected them to take based on existing theories.
Artist's conception of a small icy object beyond Pluto.
Illustration courtesy G. Bacon, STScI/NASA
Gomes' research suggest that this previously hidden planet is located far beyond the orbit of Pluto.
Due to its size, it would exert a strong influence on trans-Neptunine objects, but only a minimal one on the four gas and ice giants, and a negligible one on the inner, rocky worlds.
A Neptune-sized ice giant orbiting about 225 billion kilometers (140 billion miles) away from the Sun could account for these disruptions.
Alternatively, a Mars-sized rocky world in a highly elongated orbit beyond Pluto could exert a similar influence.
The newly proposed world may have developed in the solar system along with the other planets, and then gradually move away from the Sun,
or may have been captured by the Sun after being ejected from its own star system, billions of years ago.
"Rodney Gomes is actively seeking further evidence and I await his findings with interest! He has taken on a difficult task, but is
taking the right approach. It is definitely a high risk, high reward, situation - a discovery of a new planet would be spectacular!"
comments University of Maryland astronomer, Douglas Hamilton.
Astronomers will hopefully soon be able provide more information about the mysterious planet discovered by astronomer Rodney Gomes.