Mysterious ‘Planet Nine’ on the solar system’s edge may not be real

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Planet Nine

An illustration of the proposed Planet Nine

Science Photo Library/Alamy

Things aren’t looking so good for Planet Nine. Astronomers have been seeking signs of a purported giant planet in the outer reaches of our solar system since 2014, but new observations hint that it may not actually be there.

In 2014, astronomers noticed that rocks in the outer solar system called extreme trans-Neptunian objects, or eTNOs, seemed to be inexplicably clumped together. That clumping, along with their strange elongated orbits, could possibly be explained by the gravitational influence of a planet with five to ten times the mass …

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