There’s a bit of a mystery going on in our own solar system, and it has to deal with the entity known as “Planet 9”. Join us as we explore what it is, and whether it might be a black hole.
What Is Planet 9?
I want to dedicate this particular entry to the memory of Pluto, who was a planet for 76 years before being demoted to a “Dwarf Planet”. We’ll never forget you Pluto, and you’ll always be a character in Disney, nothing can change that. But yeah, let’s get to the reason we’re talking about this, ok?
Our solar system now has “eight” planets, and thus the further examination of what is, and isn’t within our solar system is more important than ever before. And because of this, there are some scientists who believe that there is a true “Planet Nine” in orbit around our sun. Albeit, in a way that is both curious and weird.
This reveal came in 2014, when an astronomer named Dr. Scott Shepherd found 2012 VP113. A dwarf planet (like Pluto) that was orbiting around the sun. But at a distance much farther than most planets in our confirmed solar system. The trick though is that the orbit that this dwarf planet was going on was very atypical. to the extent that it was just plain odd.
“Nothing is currently known in the Solar System that could create 2012 VP113’s orbit,” says Sheppard.
An odd coincidence? Perhaps, but here’s another catch for you. More objects within our solar system have been found to share similar atypical orbits like 2012 VP113. 10 so far. The odds of that happening within the same solar system? Not very likely, at all.
So what’s the solution to the mystery? Many think that it’s Planet Nine. We just haven’t discovered it yet, which is very mysterious when you think about it. A large planet could cause such atypical orbits because they’re orbiting around it and not the sun as they’re closer to Planet Nine.
But where is this “Planet Nine”? No one knows, but the hunt is well and truly on for it because it could change how we think about our solar system if it’s proven to be real.
Why Should It Matter If Planet 9 Exists?
I know that this may seem like an odd question to some, but to others the reverse is true. If a 9th planet (not named Pluto…) is out there in the depths of space and we aren’t finding it…should we really care? Beyond the basics of “scientific discovery” and all of that should we really care that there a 9th planet out there if it’s not bothering the Earth?
That’s a fair question, the answer though is just as fair, and it’s something that needs to be understood. If there is indeed a planet up there right where people suppose it is, it could change the very fabric of what we know about our solar system. One of the reasons that people didn’t really care about Pluto being declared “not a planet” is that it wasn’t going to be very helpful to us here on Earth. But now, imagine that this mysterious Planet 9 IS a planet that we need to know about. What if…it could be a planet that we could habitate?
That would change a lot of things. Including how we view space exploration. Sure, it’s a reach that this planet that we haven’t seen or gotten wind of in hundreds of years is a habitable planet, but it’s not impossible. Plus, even if it wasn’t, it would still be important because it could have something that could be beneficial to Earth. Just that hope is enough reason to go and try to find it.
Of course, the opposite is also true, when it comes to a mysterious planet being in our solar system, it could just as likely be something harmful to all the planets in said solar system.
Is Planet 9 A Primordial Black Hole?
I’m sure some of you are hearing “black hole” and thus are panicking that we might get sucked up into oblivion or stretched into infinity and beyond. But don’t worry about that just yet. There isn’t a black hole in our solar system, we would notice that. However, based on findings in the search of “Planet 9”, it’s possible that this mystery “planet” is in fact a primordial black hole. What’s the difference? Quite a lot actually as Stephen Hawking and others have found in their research of the phenomenon.
To put it in the most basic of terms, a primordial black hole is a remnant of the Big Bang. The event that is said to have caused the creation of the entire universe…including black holes. If you don’t know, black holes in terms of their life expectancy are dependent on their size. The bigger the black hole, the more energy they both exhume and consume, and thus if they’re a certain size, they can’t survive for very long. Primordial Black Holes however are the exception to this rule. As they’re able to survive, and potentially gain mass to make them both bigger, and last longer.
Which…on the outskirts of a solar system where lots of things fly in and out…plus the various things that are left off of planets as they move…it’s possible that such a thing not only exists, but thus explains why we haven’t see it or felt the effects of it. It’s really small and thus easily missed. But is it really that simple?
How Do You Miss A Black Hole?
When it comes to black holes, they’re often shown in sci-fi movies and TV shows as “massive entities” that we can all view and witness just how powerful and devastating it is. But here’s the thing…that’s not true. Don’t get me wrong, Black Holes CAN be massive, and there are some out there that are more massive than our ENTIRE solar system. Try and picture that. But, there’s a catch to that, despite them being so big, they’re not easy to spot unless you know exactly what you are looking for.
How does that work? Simple, the thing you need to remember about Black Holes is that they’re massive points of gravity. In this case, they are usually created via stars collapsing on themselves and basically creating a gravity well. When that happens, the gravity is so intense and strong that not even light can get out of it. And what happens when light isn’t able to escape? Exactly, you get total and complete blackness. Thus why Black Holes get their name, nothing that touches them is able to get out (outside of some very rare phenomena mind you). So they’re a big danger to any matter that is out there.
However, the reason we can see some of the big ones in space is that we can notice the “dark spots” in certain areas. But when it comes to primordial black holes and how small they can be, it’s not that simple. Plus, when observing things from our own solar system, scale and positioning matter, and thus even if the black hole was the size of a planet, which it very likely isn’t, it’d be very easy to miss.
We talked about black hole in this post too
Why A Primordial Black Hole Makes Sense For “Planet 9”
As we noted earlier, there are some big reasons why people think that “Planet 9” really do exist, and the biggest thing is that there are certain orbits of objects within the solar system that don’t line up with the gravity exuded by planets and other things like the sun. Everything follows a path that is understandable in certain views and lights, but these objects do not. A large planet is one explanation for this, but a primordial black hole also works.
Like I said in the previous post, black holes exude all sorts of powerful gravity wells, and even if you’re not caught up in it, you can be affected by the gravity that is pouring out of it. Not unlike how meteors and asteroids don’t intend to hit the Earth, they’re just on a path and then if they get caught in our gravity, they can get pulled in at times. If a powerful enough primordial black hole is out there in the “range” that we expect “Planet 9” to be at, then it would make sense that it is strong enough to alter things like the orbits of asteroids and other cosmic entities.
Also, since black holes can be a variety of sizes, it would make it harder to find unless we’re pointing at the right spot, unlike a planet where as long as it’s within a certain range and size, it’ll be spotted easily.
So while it’s still not confirmed that Planet 9 is a primordial black hole, there are a lot of deductive facts and reasoning that point to this being at least plausible.
Though you could say that this is true for disproving it as well…
The Problems With The Primordial Black Hole Theory
Now, while it’s true that there are things that point to the Primordial Black Hole being “Planet 9”, there are just as many that deter this theory in numerous ways. First and foremost is that a Primordial Black Hole has never been officially discovered. Yeah, I know, right? You’d think that if they were theorizing Planet 9 being a Primordial Black Hole they would at least know that one was possible.
But in fact, at present, not a single Primordial Black Hole has been found in the solar system, galaxy, or universe. At one point, a theory was going around that the “gap” between our galaxy and the Andromeda galaxy had a plethora of Primordial Black Holes. So they spent some time and researched just that. However, when they did the research, they found that there was no proof of such entities out there.
to be clear, this does NOT disprove that these kinds of black holes exist, it’s just that they haven’t been found yet. The same people who did the research on these also submitted that they could exist, just in fewer numbers than previously calculated. Perhaps that’s why they wanted this to be real in terms of Planet Nine, because then it would truly be proof that these phenomena exist and that they could use this particular black hole to see if others are out there both in terms of the solar system and in the grander universe.
It could still happen, but not right now.
So Where Does That Leave Us in Regards To “Planet 9”?
That is a good question, and one worth venturing a guess over. Right now, we have more questions and theories than answers in regards to what Planet 9 is or isn’t. To the extent that scientists are desperately trying to figure out what is going on and why certain things in space are happening like they are. If it is a planet, and not a primordial black hole, there are ways to explain where it came from. Including having been ejected from another galaxy and roaming around until it got caught in the gravitational pull of the sun.
Or, it could be a “Rogue Planet” that was just wandering aimlessly through the stars until like the captured planet it wandered into our solar system and got stuck. Another possibility is that it’s the core of a star that was supposed to form, and yet didn’t.
The fact of the matter is that we don’t have enough facts on this matter to make a clear and conscious truth about what’s going on here. But in part, that’s why so many people are interested in what’s going on here. Because it’s clear that something isn’t fitting right, that something is causing a disturbance in the force…I mean the orbits of the solar system. The question…is what? And we don’t know that answer, so we’re still looking for answers and we’re likely not going to stop looking for answers until we get them. Or at the very least debunk all of the theories and speculation that is going around here.
Regardless of the truth though, we’re still going to be observing the stars with interest.
The Future Of Our Solar System and Beyond
In truth, it may be quite a long time until we find out what’s going on with “Planet 9” and beyond. But that’s not exactly a bad thing, as humanity is currently very busy with planning further treks into our own solar system. Mainly, the missions to Mars are aiming to start up within the next few years, and that could put humanity on another planet for the first time in history, which is something very impressive.
But, with the hints and clues that there is something else out there, that is enough motivation for space agencies across the world to focus in on the “outer reaches” of the solar system and try to see what else is out there. History has taught us that the greatest discoveries are at times accidents, while others are about looking at the right place at the right time because of the right motivation. And having a potential planet or black hole just out of reach so to speak is very good motivation indeed.
So what will we find when we continue to look at the stars? No one really knows, but that’s what’s so exciting about exploration.