Pluto, which was downgraded to a small dwarf planet in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union, has not been an honest-to God planet for over 15 years. Our best judgements are that a decade and a half is enough time to adjust to the smaller solar system families, introduce children to a revised 8-character mnemonic device, as well as exhaust ourselves of all the Pluto memes.
Yet, recent oceanic developments have shown that comfort and stability are not always the best things for scientists. It seems like our solar system could soon be redesigned to include a mysterious, yet to be proven Planet 9. Who is responsible for this astronomical whiplash.
The same goddamn guy that stole Pluto from us.
Michael Brown, an agent of chaos, is the man NBC News calls the astronomer responsible for dethroning Pluto in 2006. He recently co-authored a research paper claiming that a mysterious and huge ninth planet might exist on the fringes our solar system. According to NBC, the Astronomical Journal will publish a study that reexamines the evidence Brown and his colleagues presented in 2016. It will examine evidence that points to Planet 9 for the explanation of anomalies in our outer solar system. This includes regions of icy cometary cores and regions known as Kuiper Belt objects.
Critics claim that the data presented could still qualify as statistical anomalies, while empirical evidence indicates a ninth planet's existence. Browns team claims there is only 0.4 percent chance that the Kuiper Belt cluster is not a cosmic fluke. New evidence indicates that Planet 9 is located in orbits between 380-400 times Earth's distance from the sun. It may be a gas giant similar to Neptune, with a mass of six times our planets.
Although more research is required before astronomers can definitively prove the existence of a new Planet 9, our excitement will be dampened by the fact that Michael Brown has already taken us all to another planet. It's hard to believe that he would not do the same thing again.
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