In July 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft gave us our first close look at Pluto, the most famous dwarf planet in the outskirts of our Solar System. The flyby was big news, and the data sent back to Earth revealed a world far more complex than anyone realized. Are there more worlds out there, beyond Pluto? What might such a world be like?
Planet Nine tells a tale of the search for another world hidden in the darkness.
Planetary scientist-explorers continually make discoveries about conditions "out there". Planet Nine follows Mike Brown and his team at CalTech as they uncover new worlds such as the remarkably bright Eris; tumbling Haumea, an egg-shaped object rotating incredibly fast; and Sedna, whose orbit takes it deep into the far reaches of the Solar System.
Is there a new planet beyond even these distant objects?
High-powered telescopes peer out at the sky each night, searching for faint light from distant worlds. Experience a night at the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii, as Brown describes his search for worlds so far away they take thousands of years to orbit the Sun.
Throughout this fascinating show, Mike Brown talks about unusual orbits and describes nights of painstaking robotic searches for new planets. His is a story of modern planet-hunting techniques that have uncovered many new worlds out beyond Neptune.
Those distant objects, with their eccentric and ever-changing orbits, may provide clues to the existence of a very large, so-far-undiscovered world. Its existence is inferred by the gravitational effect it has on the orbits of Pluto, Haumea, Eris, and other denizens of the Kuiper Belt.
No one is quite sure where this mysterious world is — yet. Like the wild orbits that this supposed planet has influenced, Planet Nine contains clues that astronomers use to explore the distant reaches. Join in this fascinating tale of observation, discovery, and analysis — and hear firsthand about the life of a modern planet hunter searching out his prey.
Running time: 27:00
Suitable for: General Public
Information about: Outer solar system, planetary orbits, Kuiper Belt, Pluto
Year of production: 2016
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