'Planet Nine': Facts About the Mysterious Solar System World (Infographic)

Known facts about the suspected planet.
Researchers say an anomaly in the orbits of distant Kuiper Belt objects points to the existence of an unknown planet orbiting the sun. (Image credit: by Karl Tate, Infographics artist)

On Jan. 20, 2016, scientists announced the discovery of what could be a giant planet in the Kuiper Belt at the outer edge of our solar system. Nicknamed "Planet Nine," the world is a behemoth - about 10 times the mass of the Earth. It would take the planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to orbit the sun.

The Evidence for 'Planet Nine' in Our Solar System (Gallery)

Evidence for Planet Nine was unveiled by researchers Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. The scientists used mathematical modeling and computer simulations to make the find, but have not actually observed the planet directly.

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The planet's existence is inferred by the orbits of six other, smaller objects in the Kuiper Belt. The orbits of those smaller objects lined up in a way that suggested the gravitational influence of another much more massive object, which Brown and Batygin dubbed Planet Nine.


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Karl Tate
Space.com contributor

Karl's association with Space.com goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. From 2010 to 2016, Karl worked as an infographics specialist across all editorial properties of Purch (formerly known as TechMediaNetwork).  Before joining Space.com, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University and now works as a freelance graphic designer in New York City.