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Scientists in Australia are searching the southern part of the sky for the large planet dubbed Planet Nine, which they believe is hiding right on the edge of the solar system.
Now they have released many thousands of images and have asked the public to look through them to help them find the exact location. It is thought that Planet Nine may be orbiting the Sun and be far past the planets Pluto and Neptune. So far the planet has remained elusive.
Australian Scientists Searching For Hidden Planet Nine Ask For Publics Help
Scientists from the Australian National University have now released images to the public that were captured by the Sky Mapper telescope located at the Siding Observatory in NSW.
Brad Tucker, the astronomer, said that the telescope has been making a digital map and it has produced many thousands of images. Due to this, they are asking the public to look at the images to try to locate the elusive planet.
Up to now, Planet Nine is only conjectured as there hasn’t been any proof of its existence. The plant is thought to be around ten times that of the Earth and scientists predict that it is about 800 times the distance of the Sun.
Tucker explained that scientists believe the planet exists following analysis of the orbit of Pluto, which they believe may have been impacted by planets gravity. Neptune was actually predicted in just the same way according to history.
Anyone interested in helping the scientists can head over to the website to check out the images showing objects move through space over a period of time, to try and find any movements that might match those of the proposed characteristics of Planet Nine.
Tucker said that this was much like playing spot the difference. Those looking at the images should be able to see blue, red and green dots and if this is what you can see you answer “yes” and have to click the position. From this calculations are made to work out if the orbit is good or whether it is the planet. This is then sent to the scientists, who use the Siding Spring telescope to follow it.
As you might imagine the dataset is going to be huge as it will contain many thousands of asteroids along with other celestials. Scientists are hoping to look through areas of high probability in around a week, while the complete data will take several months. It is hoped that the planet will be found in the probable area.
The project to find Planet Nine was launched just this week as a part of the BBC program Stargazing Live and the Australian version is going to be shown the Siding Spring Observatory for ABC TV.