A team of astronomers from various U.S. universities have discovered a new strange space rock that gives new evidence for the existence of the mysterious Planet Nine, according to a new study that is available on the preprint website Arxiv and has been submitted to The Astronomical Journal.
Scientists have spent years searching for the hypothetical ninth planet within our solar system. In the recent research, the scientists found that an asteroid known as 2015 BP519 likely supports the theory of the world’s existence.
The body is important because its orbit is at an angle that suggests it is being affected by a large planet floating somewhere out in the far reaches of our solar system.
“We…consider the long term orbital stability and evolutionary behavior within the context of the Planet Nine hypothesis, and find that 2015 BP519 adds to the circumstantial evidence for the existence of this proposed new member of the solar system,” the team wrote in their study, according to Space.com.
Though not all scientists believe the odd orbit is proof that Planet Nine exists, may agree it does give more credence to the idea. In fact, putting Planet Nine into simulations helps account for the rock’s strange movements.
This is not the first time astronomers have attributed Planet Nine to a strange orbit. In 2014 scientists discovered similar patterns in several small bodies beyond Neptune’s orbit, including dwarf planet Sedna, a newfound object called 2012 VP113, and several other trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs).
Many studies have been conducted on TNOs since then, but very few of them gave as much evidence to the Planet Nine hypothesis as the recent finding. Now that researchers are aware of 2015 BP519’s orbit, they next plan to take a closer look at the rock and run more model simulations to see if they could find where Planet Nine might be.
“It’s not proof that Planet Nine exists,” said study co-author David Gerdes, a researcher from the University of Michigan, according to Science Alert. “But I would say the presence of an object like this in our solar system bolsters the case for Planet Nine.”