Science & Technology

50 years ago, scientists had hints of a planet beyond Pluto

cover of the May 6, 1972 issue of Science News

Cometary proof of a planet past Pluto Science Information, Could 6, 1972

There have been recommendations that our photo voltaic system may need a tenth planet…. Within the April Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, a mathematician … presents what he says is “some very attention-grabbing proof of a planet past Pluto.” The proof comes from calculations of the orbit of Halley’s comet.


The 1972 proof by no means yielded a planet, however astronomers haven’t stopped trying — although it grew to become a seek for Planet 9 with Pluto’s 2006 change to dwarf standing. Within the mid-2010s, scientists hypothesized that the tug of a giant planet 500 to 600 instances as removed from the solar as Earth might clarify the peculiar orbits of some objects within the photo voltaic system’s debris-filled Kuiper Belt (SN: 7/23/16, p. 7). However that proof may not stand as much as additional scrutiny (SN: 3/13/21, p. 9). Researchers utilizing the Atacama C­osmology Telescope in Chile to scan practically 90 p.c of the Southern Hemisphere’s sky had no luck discovering the planet, the workforce reported in December 2021.

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