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Space boffins reveal hidden Planet X search — NASA Nibiru BREAKTHROUGH

17 February 2017, 03:24 | Kevin Scott

The icy world known as Planet Nine or Planet X is only theoretical for now, but its existence would explain some of the puzzles surrounding the weird orbits of some far-out objects.

This "Planet 9" would be similar in size to Neptune, but up to a thousand times farther from the sun than Earth, and would orbit the sun perhaps once every 15,000 years.

Astronomers believe that the orbits of a number of bodies in the distant reaches of the solar system have been disrupted by the pull of an as yet unidentified planet.

Calling all space fans: Astronomers want you to help them hunt for a large planet that might be lurking on the outskirts of our solar system.

The best part is, you can take part without having to leave your couch. Clyde Tombaugh used a special machine that systematically switched images on glass astronomical plates back and forth, looking for any objects in the night sky that "moved" between the images.

A new website, called Backyard Worlds: Planet 9, lets everyone participate in the search by viewing brief movies made from images captured by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission.

"There are just over four light-years between Neptune and Proxima Centauri, the nearest star, and much of this vast territory is unexplored", said lead researcher behind the project Marc Kuchner, from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre.

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WISE took the image covering a large area of the sky that helped astronomers detect faint stars that shift their position from time to time.

As Schneider explained, "People who join in the Backyard Worlds search bring a unique skill to the search: the human ability to recognize movement".

NASA is giving you a chance. Such spots might be undiscovered planets or brown dwarfs, which are small failed stars. This means objects in that zone can't reflect light - and therefore are very hard to find. Meisner thinks it's more likely that volunteers will find brown dwarfs in the solar neighborhood. "They have masses of less than 80 times that of Jupiter, because that's the point at which nuclear fusion begins and an object becomes by definition a star".

WISE images have already turned up hundreds of previously unknown brown dwarfs, including the sun's third- and fourth-closest known neighbors. Citizen scientists will be asked to inspect images just like this to search for new objects in the solar neighborhood.

And if you spot the right one, you could be at the centre of one of the biggest discoveries in the 21st century.

Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 is a collaboration between NASA, UC Berkeley, the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Arizona State University, the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, and Zooniverse, a collaboration of scientists, software developers and educators who collectively develop and manage citizen science projects on the internet.

The WISE project used in the Planet Nine project scanned the entire night sky between 2009 and 2010 making a number of discoveries including finding unusual galaxies, black holes, and near-Earth asteroids. This sensitivity to infrared light makes WISE uniquely suited for discovering Planet 9, if it exists.



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