Solar System Scientists Aren’t Convinced That Planet Nine Exists
“When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you look in such a way that you’re biased towards finding objects that support Planet Nine and away from finding objects that don’t support it, that doesn’t mean Planet Nine exists; it means you need better data before you can know what’s going on. We need to know what’s going on with not just Planet Nine, but the Solar System beyond the Kuiper belt in general.
With new surveys, better sky coverage, and superior data on the way, the next decade of astronomy should see us not only solve the mystery of what (if any) large worlds lie beyond Neptune, but can help us understand how solar systems form and evolve in general. There are a slew of mysterious objects out there, beyond not only Neptune but beyond our present ability to comprehend. With deeper, wider-field surveys on the way, this is one puzzle whose solution will fascinate astronomers no matter which idea is correct.”
Everyone wants to know when we will finally find Planet Nine: the hypothetical world perhaps ten times the mass of Earth that lies beyond Neptune? Well, what makes you so certain that Planet Nine exists? The original idea theorizing it was based on just four objects, and at present there are ten objects that provide strong, indirect evidence that something caused these detached objects that never approach Neptune to have such similar orbital properties. But there are an additional eight objects, found by a different, independent survey, that are consistent with the null hypothesis: that no Planet Nine exists. Without more and better data, and better, deeper sky coverage, it’s simply too premature to bet on Planet Nine.