On Wednesday 20th January 2016, scientists presented "good evidence" of a potential and long-sought hypothetical Planet X which has been debated over and caused controversy for decades.
The evidence was presented in peer-reviewed journal, Astronomical. Astronomer Mike Brown and scientist Konstantin Batygin from California Institute of Technology have based their calculations on the fact that the orbits of as many as six different objects in the Kuiper belt are being affected by something. The only logical assumption that can be concluded is that their orbits must be being affected by a real planet.
Although the planet hasn't actually been observed by telescope just yet, their research is backed up by Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington who had also proposed a giant planet by his own calculations thereby taking his own research "to the next level" and the researchers believe that the planet could be discovered by telescope within the next five years.
Sheppard also stated in email that the odds of there being a Planet X just went up from being 50% to now being 75%. In 1981, a US Naval Observatory astronomer had previously announced at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society that irregularities in the orbit of Pluto indicated that there must be a tenth planet (Pluto was still considered a planet at the time). Then in 1982, NASA announced that "an object is really there far beyond the outermost planets".
Later, in 1983, an announcement was made by the Chief IRAS Scientist of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in which he stated "a heavenly body as large as Jupiter and part of this solar system has been found in the direction of the constellation of Orion by an orbiting telescope". It seems that over the following few years some kind of censorship seemed to take place.
Just as proposed by the Planet X conspiracy theorists, the giant planet is believed to be on an unusual highly elliptical orbit, it's estimated to be between 20-billion to 100-billion miles from Earth, it's 5,000 times larger than Pluto and 10 times larger than Earth and may possibly have rings and moons. It is believed that the planet, now being labelled Planet 9, may take between 10,000 to 20,000 years to complete it's orbit around the sun.
According to planetary scientist, Konstantin Batygin:
"For the first time in more than 150 years, there's good evidence that the planetary census of the solar system is incomplete"
The researchers are now on a mission to observe the giant planet by telescope and are asking people to help them look for it. They noted that decent backyard telescopes may be capable of spotting it if the planet comes relatively close to Earth in it's orbit around the sun.