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Last Month's "Planet X" Announcement Was Probably Wrong

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the science-ruins-everything dept.

Space 44

KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "Last month, astronomers announced the discovery of the most distant body in the Solar System, a dwarf planet called 2012VP113. They also said this body's orbit was strangely aligned with several other dwarf planets in the Kuiper Belt and that this could be the result of these bodies being herded by a much larger Planet X even further from the Sun. They calculated that this hidden planet could be between 2 and 15 times the mass of the Earth and orbiting at a distance of between 200 AU and 300 AU, an announcement that triggered excited headlines around the world. Now it looks as though these predictions were wildly optimistic. It turns out that the position of Planet X can be constrained more tightly using orbital measurements of other planets. And when this data is added into the mix, Planet X can only only orbit at much greater distances, if it exists at all. The new calculations suggest that a planet twice the mass of Earth cannot orbit any closer than about 500 AU. And a planet 15 times the mass of Earth must be at least 1000 AU distant. What's more, the New Horizons mission currently on its way to Pluto, should constrain the distance to beyond 4700 AU. So any Planet X hunters out there are likely to be disappointed."

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If they *do* find it... (4, Interesting)

Zocalo (252965) | about 4 months ago | (#46703689)

Hopefully they will name it something beginning with "P" so mnemonics like "My Very Easy Method, Just Set Up Nine Planets" and so on all work again, or has anyone come up with a good one for the current 8 planet setup?

How this news will be interpreted (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46703737)

Soon on all paranormal/extraterrestrial channels: "NASA confirms the existence of Planet X : New Horizons probe discovers a giant Earth-like planet 4700 AU away from the Sun"

How your post and this post will be interpreted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46703793)

Soon on all paranormal/extraterrestrial channels: "NASA/NWO shills on the Slashdot comment section spreading disinformation"

Re:How this news will be interpreted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46703809)

Nonono.

"Government attempts to hush up the proof of Planet X! In a transparent attempt to misdirect the public, using a pliant Italian "astronomer" as a mouthpiece [...]"

Re:How this news will be interpreted (2)

jythie (914043) | about 4 months ago | (#46703843)

More likely 'NASA calculations show distance of Planet X, results quickly covers up by retracted claims with fake math'

Re:If they *do* find it... (5, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#46703799)

Mary's "Virgin" Excuse Made Joseph Suspect Upstairs Neighbour.

Re:If they *do* find it... (1)

bmxeroh (1694004) | about 4 months ago | (#46704937)

I almost fell out of my chair. That was good.

Re:If they *do* find it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46705317)

That was from xkcd.

Re:If they *do* find it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46703829)

I'm hoping for calling the planet Ix.

Will you forget they lost Pluto? (1)

grimJester (890090) | about 4 months ago | (#46703873)

Just go "My Very Easy Method, Just Set Up Nine ... oh."

Re:If they *do* find it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704015)

No point. Even if it was 40 times the size of Jupiter, the size of the orbit would be so immense that it's extremely improbable for it to 'clear it's orbit of debris' [wikipedia.org] . Which would, by definition, leave it as a dwarf planet, even if it is larger than all other planets that gravitically interact primarily with our sun.

Re:If they *do* find it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704209)

Maybe actually look at the article [wikipedia.org] that links to. A Jupiter mass planet anywhere in the solar system, even much further than hundreds of AU, would potentially qualify under the Stern-Levison parameter which is related to the ability of a planet to fling away smaller bodies. Even an Earth sized one out to a couple thousand AU could work. If using the planetary discriminator which compares the mass of a body to the mass that crosses its orbit, and considering current measurement estimates of the Kuiper belt give it a mass of less than 10% of Earth, you could have an Earth sized object with a pretty eccentric orbit and still have a large discriminator value. Even using the large values of the Kuiper belt total mass of ~30 Earth masses needed by simulations to let larger bodies like Pluto form, a Jupiter sized body would easily be considered clearing its orbit.

Re:If they *do* find it... (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#46704215)

the size of the orbit would be so immense that it's extremely improbable for it to 'clear it's orbit of debris'

Logical deduction based on your knowledge of astrometrics and gravitation, or vague assumption based on a hunch?

Re:If they *do* find it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704173)

Man-Virgins Easily Memorize Junk Shit Useful to Noone

Re:If they *do* find it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46706581)

Re:If they *do* find it... (2)

Zalbik (308903) | about 4 months ago | (#46705973)

Seriously? It's 8 names in order....just memorize them.

Look, I'm all for mnemonics (although there are better methods) when needing to memorize multiple-dozens of pieces of information, but for a list of 8, I can't believe people use a mnemonic.

Do you also use a mnemonic to remember the days of the week in order? Months of the year?

Re:If they *do* find it... (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 4 months ago | (#46707195)

Months:
Just For Memory, A Mouse Jumps Jelly And Somebody Orange Never Diets.
Jelly Frogs March About My Jelly Jungle Almost Slipping Onto Neighbour's Doormat
Jammy Fingers Might Annoy My Jealous Jumping Auntie So Ought Not Dance
Jumping Frogs Might Annoy Me Just Joking About Skipping Over Napping Daddy
Jane Found Michael And Martin Juggling Jelly And Sprinkles Outside Nelly's Door

Then, of course, there are mnemonics [wikipedia.org] for even shorter lists of words, used by much more educated people as learning tools.

Re:If they *do* find it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46707467)

You're being a douche. For lists beyond 5-7 elements (varies per person), a mnemonic makes it easier to remember. At 8 or more, this goes for ALL humans, even you. This is well explored science since decades back.

Re:If they *do* find it... (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 4 months ago | (#46706115)

Hopefully they will name it something beginning with "P" so mnemonics like "My Very Easy Method, Just Set Up Nine Planets" and so on all work again, or has anyone come up with a good one for the current 8 planet setup?

Puranus?

Re:If they *do* find it... (1)

garyebickford (222422) | about 4 months ago | (#46708709)

Just call it Poop, since it is found outside Uranus. :P

Heartbleed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46703693)

Open Source is superior because so many eyes are looking at it.

WMD on credit spiritual bankruptcy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46703715)

loss of worlds' last innocents http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=world+famine+infants+genocide maternity matters http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=bees+hive+queen

Likely Wrong (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 4 months ago | (#46703797)

Duh, they were announcing planet X. Those anouncements have always turned out to be wrong! That was fun. We'll do this again in a couple of years.

Re:Likely Wrong (1)

mrego (912393) | about 4 months ago | (#46705525)

Just XXXXX it out. It is an ex-announcement now.

Why disappointed? (5, Interesting)

captainpanic (1173915) | about 4 months ago | (#46703881)

Only the mad conspiracy hatters will be disappointed, because they already know that planet X is on a collision course with us. But then, they don't care about new findings,unless they support their theory. Amateur astronomers however will be just as excited when a planet is found much further away.

It's actually a very exciting and interesting article... it means that in the near future, we won't be searching for a needle in a haystack. We know pretty much where to find the needle, if there is any. To me, that is even more reason to search, which hopefully opens up some funding for the scientists who produce these awesome results.
For me personally, the really exciting thing is that there is so much out there. Perhaps no earth-sized planet, many more dwarf planet than I had ever dreamed...

Re:Why disappointed? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 months ago | (#46704839)

Only the mad conspiracy hatters will be disappointed, because they already know that planet X is on a collision course with us.

Uh... how would that be a conspiracy? Planet X and the Sun are conspiring to destroy Earth?

Re:Why disappointed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46706501)

A reoccurring conspiracy theory is that there is some planet that is on a collision course with the Earth and the government(s) are hiding this from the public. One common aspect of how they are able to hide it is some junk about the planet only being visible from the north and south pole of Earth, hence why we have a base at the south pole. A coworker once gave a general public talk on his research and include some photos and info about his trip to the south pole as part of that. Afterwards, one person kept asking him about the armed guards and military there and how he managed to take photos without any of them visible, etc. She became more and more confused at trying to come up with reasons why he didn't notice or didn't have aspects of the conspiracy in his photos, until finally "realizing" he was part of the conspiracy. Other times it gets messy when conspiracy theorists misidentify what equipment at the south pole is used for, calling a telescope a radar installation, etc.

Nibiru (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46703895)

When they find it (and they will), it should be named Nibiru, since that's what it'll be called anyway.

planet x veering to avoid blackholish formation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46703905)

we call it our 'weather'? http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=tornado+swarms

Yeah but I've already seen the documentary (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 4 months ago | (#46703955)

The Man From Planet X [imdb.com] told me all I needed to know about a rogue planet floating around the solar system.

DeGrassi is a fraud and a fruit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704105)

And this only shows this for all to see.

What about Neptune? (1)

NMBob (772954) | about 4 months ago | (#46704619)

Did they ever figure out why the orbit of Neptune is "wrong"? They were looking for, again, Planet X, and discovered Pluto, but it wasn't large enough to affect Neptune's orbit. (or is it 'effect'?)

Re:What about Neptune? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46705261)

Calculations and measurements improved, narrowing the possible missing effect they attributed to planet X, until finally Voyager 2's measurements found a small correction to Neptune's mass made the need for another planet disappear completely.

This paper's argument is weak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704655)

Just as weak as the proof that there is a new planet. The reason we haven't found many Kuiper/Oort objects is because they are dark. WISE can't see anything that dark. We're likely only ever going to see these trans-Neptunian objects if we manage to observe it passing in front of a star.

The Voyager 1 Principle (2)

gsslay (807818) | about 4 months ago | (#46704657)

So does this now mean that Voyager 1 has, or hasn't, left the solar system?

Cos that's how I usually gauge astronomical retractions.

WTF is Planet X? (1)

steelfood (895457) | about 4 months ago | (#46704887)

What is Planet X supposed to be nowadays? It was supposed to be a planet beyond Pluto. But first off, Pluto isn't a planet anymore. And there have been a number of KBO's discovered that that are comparable to Pluto. Does Planet X have to meet the actual definition of a planet?

So what's Planet X if it hasn't already been found and named Eris? Or Makemake? Or Sedna? Or should it actually be called Planet IX, since Pluto isn't a real planet anymore?

This whole Planet X thing sounds absurd. Between this, and the thinly-veiled slashvertisement for NoSQL "Ask Slashdot", and all the other crap articles that've made the front page, is it still April 1st somewhere or something?

Re:WTF is Planet X? (1)

Calydor (739835) | about 4 months ago | (#46705117)

I don't think that's a numeral, but an unknown.

NIBURU (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46705345)

Lookup "NIBURU" - perhaps that will shed some light on it for you, IF You haven't heard that name/term before, in regards to "Planet 'X'"...

(Personally, I think it's a hoax of somekind by this point... why? See below!)

APK

P.S.=> I was following that madness & lunacy for a bit there last year (better prepared than not type thinking, not conspiracy theorist :"they're hiding the truth from us" type stuff).

However - It NEVER "panned out" as was told about it!

(I.E.-> Niburu/Planet X allegedly being some "rogue planet" that has supposedly destroyed our civilization(s) in the past via gravometric stress caused by its numerous near passing to earth in generations past)... apk

Re:WTF is Planet X? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46706761)

Planet X: The Fear of The Black Planet

Re:WTF is Planet X? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46708755)

What is Planet X supposed to be nowadays? ...blah blah blah...

This whole Planet X thing sounds absurd. Between this, and the thinly-veiled slashvertisement for NoSQL "Ask Slashdot", and all the other crap articles that've made the front page, is it still April 1st somewhere or something?

See here for details:
http://nineplanets.org/hypo.html#planetx

Planet X has been so many different things it is now just a general name for a large, undiscovered world - presumably one that will wear the title, "planet", and - most typically these days - outside the orbit of Pluto.

If you add one part nonsense, one part miscalculations, and one part honest sky searching, that is your "Planet X" in a nutshell. If you expect it to be one thing in particular you have failed. Until the day we find it and it is indeed one thing in particular.

Captcha: elliptic [r u kidding me - i won the effing captacha relevenace lotto!!!]

directional scan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46705005)

I don't think my Tengu can make a 4700 AU warp in one hop :-(

Math is Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46706341)

See...with mathematics and Statistics, you can prove Anything to be true OR false.

false (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46723669)

If Planet X existed, we'd have seen it by now./ Sofia Koutsouveli

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