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Pluto's Dwarf Planet Friend Spotted -- Is There a New 9th Planet?

Oct 14, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
Going beyond Pluto
After Pluto was demoted as a dwarf planet, scientist have been carefully searching for other planets that might exist within our solar system just beyond Pluto--and recent study just confirmed their hypothesis. A dwarf planet named 2014 UZ224 was recently discovered by a group from the University of Michigan.
(Photo : Skeeze/Public Domain/Pixabay)

As scientists and astronomers explore outer space in search for life outside earth, scientists have discovered a new dwarf planet nearby planet. Planet Nine is believed to be about 10 times the size Earth as confirmed by the International Astronomical Union.

Formally called 2014 UZ224, the discovered "dwarf planet" was confirmed to exist by the Minor Planet Center on a news report from Space. Its discovery happened thanks to the maps produced through the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) and a software application designed by undergraduate students. Physicist David Gerdes from the University of Michigan, who works on the Dark Energy Survey (DES) project, started developing the DECam which helped in creating the universe's map, taking pictures of it usually once in a week.

The maps of the selected areas in the universe were then keenly observed, looking for seemingly-moving dots. Since stars and galaxies tend to remain where they are, the moving dots are expected to be planets orbiting on their own sun.

On an article, Gerdes' mentioned that tracking planets are really challenging that they need to investigate at maps taken from this week until months afterwards to further validate the movement.

"So the connecting-the-dots problem is much more challenging," he mentioned.

Based on their discovery, the 2014 UZ224 is around 530 kilometers in diameter, 13.6 B kilometers from the sun and takes 1, 100 Earth years to complete one revolution around its orbit. According to a statement of Mike Brown who is an astronomer from the California Institute of Technology and was known for his works that provided grounds to demote Pluto, anything found at the Kuiper Belt which is more than 400 kilometers in diameter is expected to be round and can be considered as a dwarf planet.

The Kuiper Belt is the area beyond Neptune. Experts believed that even though they have been discovering new dwarf planets beyond Neptune, there could be hundreds more that lies undetected. Recorded movements on the Oort Cloud, which is found further beyond Kuiper Belt, kept on enticing scientists to hunt down the possible ninth planet, thus keeping Gerdes motivated to do more enhancements with his technology.

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