In early 2016, astronomers at Caltech announced evidence for another large planet in the outer solar system. They – and most professional astronomers – call this distant, unknown world Planet 9 (although some call it Planet X, in deference to those still smarting over the IAU’s 2006 decision to demote Pluto to dwarf planet status). The evidence for Planet 9 has always been indirect. It came from the strangely aligned orbits of small objects in the outer solar system. Since 2016, astronomers have searched for a Planet 9 (or Planet X) in the outer solar system, but, so far, they haven’t found one. Now another group of astronomers says the strange orbits of outer solar system bodies can be explained without a Planet 9.
In other words, maybe there’s no reason to suppose a Planet 9 exists.
What’s going on here? Nothing more than the process of science. Science is, after all, primarily a process and a search for truth.
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