A few months ago, the mysterious Planet X aka Planet 9 was discovered. Despite that, it has yet to capture our hearts like its plucky predecessor, Pluto did. And now it seems unlikely it ever will. There is evidence to suggest that Planet X killed the dinosaurs, and one day it may well kill us too.
Astronomers at Lund University have determined it likely that Planet X is an exoplanet, ie. A planet that does not orbit our own Sun. It’s believed that our sun dragged Planet X away from its original star. Dr Daniel Whitmire of the University of Arkansas has reason to think that Planet X is response for comet showers which occasionally devastate our Earth. Could it be that the planet is seeking revenge for being stolen from its home star?
Maybe, but until we know for sure there is a more reasonable explanation. Planet X has a tilted orbit, perhaps due to not being native to our solar system. This tilt is such that every 27 million years it passes through the Kuiper belt of comets. When it does this, it misdirects the path of these comets and sends them hurtling straight towards our inner solar system – straight at Earth. And because Planet X is a believed to be a gaseous planet, it isn’t even punished for its misdeeds.
None of this is confirmed yet, and indeed scientists at NASA are still unsure as to whether Planet X even exists at all. We don’t even have a picture of the thing yet. But there’s a lot of evidence to suggest it does – evidence which dates back decades, long before astronomers even considered the idea of another planet in our solar system. For instance, this regular and reliable pattern of comet showers was spotted in 1985, and is believed to have been going on for at least 500 million years.
Still, if Planet X does exist, and it is out for our blood, the comet that ruined the dinosaurs’ day was 65 million, which by my count means it doesn’t get another shot at us for 16 million years. Indeed, if this is a vengeful planet that demands our doom, it will be galled to hear that its discovery stands to push our understanding of the Sun and the Earth will take a huge leap. It may even one day be an enlightening destination for our probes.
We will learn your secrets, Planet X. And then we will use them to defeat you.
My name is Jamie O'Flinn. I am a 24-year-old writer living in the West Midlands. I received a degree in Professional Writing in 2012, and am pleased to report a total lifetime earnings of 50p so far. Earned when I was 8. Selling a story about yoghurt to my literacy teacher.
When not being NRM's star contributor, I'm either gaming, drawing, blogging or trying to shill my bad leprechaun novels to wary agents. There's also a webcomic I've been meaning to do. Maybe. One day.
I'm also delightfully autistic, which grants me special powers. Like tinnitus, and occasional sudden blindness.