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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Article on Hunting for Planet 9 - a large 'Ghost planet' - using laws of gravity in simulations

There is a Scientific American article on the hunt for planet 9, that presumed planet way the heck out there is a 10,000 year-plus orbit. It is presumed because of computer simulations that suggest there must be something out there to account for the motions of other objects within the solar system. And these simulations are based on the laws of gravity, which we are studying right now to understand at least the basics of orbits. Scientists have narrowed where to look for the planet by half, so the hope is to have visual contact in the next few years to confirm what the simulations predict. By the way, it is predicted to be about 20 times the mass of the earth, and have an orbital radius that averages between 380 and 980 AU (1 AU is the radius of earth's orbit, or 93 million miles). If you are participating in the research club, then the programming skills you are acquiring could be used to do such simulations in the future! All of this stuff fits together at some point!  :-)

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