The Search for Planet 9 | Dr. Renu Malhotra | TEDxPortland

Translator: Cihan Ekmekçi
Reviewer: Leonardo Silva Thank you, David. Thank you, everybody for being here,
thank you to everybody who’s tuned in. So, let me get started. I have a limited amount of time,
the clock’s running. (Laughter) The solar system is old,
we have little time here. (Laughter) So I’m a planetary dynamicist. That’s a mouthful
and a pretty esoteric profession. But as a planetary dynamicist,
I’m especially tuned to two mathematical things about planets; the shapes of their orbits
and their period ratios. So I like numbers. So about two years ago,
when astronomers started noticing some peculiar patterns in the Kuiper Belt, this belt of small planets
beyond Neptune – we call them minor planets
or Kuiper Belt objects – I tuned into their orbit shapes
and their period ratios, and I stumbled onto a new idea that may help us discover a new planet
in the distant solar system. Searching for a distant planet
in the solar system is a story about human
imagination and curiosity, and increasing intellectual
and technological sophistication. It’s also about being human,
about our curiosity about the universe, about seeking knowledge
of our place in the cosmos. So I’m going to start with a brief history
of this very human enterprise. Ancient civilizations had
a very simple concept of the cosmos. (Laughter) So, we live on Earth, the Sun and the Moon rule the sky
and our daily lives, and the afterlife
is in heaven above or hell below. Very simple. With more data of the long
time cycles in the sky, humans developed a more
sophisticated model of the universe. a more sophisticated conceptual
model of the universe. There were the distant fixed stars,
the seven wandering stars all gods and demons
that ruled over our lives and over the cosmos. In time, with even more data
and even more mathematics, a more precise model came to be accepted. That’s the Ptolemaic model
that you see up there. This was a combination of circular paths. Everything in the universe was perfect;
circles are perfect, spheres are perfect. And this was a highly successful model, it was really accurate
in predicting the cycles in the sky, and it was accepted
for more than a thousand years. It predicted the seasons, everything that we needed
for human life, agriculture, and so on. Then, in the dawn of the 17th century, Galileo upset the elders
with a new technology. He pointed a little telescope to the sky and he discovered that not everything
in the heavens turns around Earth. There are worlds turning around Jupiter. The Sun was not perfect, it was blotchy. The Moon bore mountains
and valleys, like Earth, and the evening star, Venus,
ran phases right the Moon. So, seeding the center to the Sun, the heliocentric cosmos
grew in acceptance. A mechanical model of the cosmos emerged, beginning with Kepler’s laws
of planetary motion and leading to Newton’s law
of gravitation. The cosmos, it was finally realized,
was ruled by natural laws. Shortly after that,
with a bigger better telescope, Sir William Herschel, in England, discovered a new planet
in the solar system, Uranus, a planet that was unknown to the ancients. And this discovery truly opened
human imagination to the possibility of more planets
and more objects in the cosmos, more than we could see
with the eyes before. Meticulous analysis
of the slow movement of Uranus to seek the telltale fingerprints
of the gravity of planets now, of even more planets, led a French mathematician,
Urbain Le Verrier, to predict the exact location
of the unseen 8th planet on the night of the 23rd
of September, 1846. On that night, one German astronomer
turned his telescope to the sky and actually found that planet
at the location that was predicted on that same night. And this was a triumph
of 19th-century mathematics applied to the cosmos. Now, the most famous search for Planet 9 –
I’m here to talk about Planet 9 – the most famous search for Planet 9
was that of Percival Lowell. This was his observatory. He was convinced that the movements of Uranus and Neptune
were sufficiently aberrant, that there was a large planet
beyond Neptune, and he started a systematic search in 1906 at his observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. That’s my adopted home state. And this was the first observatory
located remotely to do the best astronomical
photography ever. Now, Lowell died in 1916,
but the search continued. The sough-for planet was found in 1930
and was named Pluto. A shout-out for Pluto!
Pluto fighters, here? (Cheers) (Applause) Well, more than two decades
of searching for this planet is truly a story of persistence. A man’s life and generations
of astronomers have been persistently looking
for objects in the sky. The size and mass of Pluto, however,
took even longer to settle. Not until 1978, when its moon Charon was discovered and alas, then it became very clear that Pluto is smaller
than our own moon, than Earth’s moon, and hence only a distant cousin
of this planet that Lowell was searching. Well, the hard work of following
Pluto’s movements over many decades revealed many surprises
about this little planet, the shape of its orbit
and its ratio with Neptune’s, the things that I tune into,
that my mind tunes into. Pluto’s orbit is very elliptical, OK?
It overlaps Neptune’s orbit. But these two never collide. These two planets are
in a celestial partnership known as orbital resonance. So, Pluto makes
two revolutions around the Sun in the same time that Neptune makes three, and in such a way the two
are never in the same place when Pluto was at perihelion. So, that makes them never collide.
They kind of dance around each other. So calculations of the three-dimensional
geometry revealed this is – Oh, look at this
beautiful picture of Pluto. This is the symmetric grand past
that Pluto makes if you’re on a carousel,
rotating around the Sun with Neptune’s orbital period. Watch the symmetry of Pluto’s orbit. This is this resonant orbit and we’ll run into resonances
constantly again. So, the three-dimensional
geometry of Pluto’s orbit is also really fascinating. There is actually an additional
resonance, more subtle. Pluto reaches perihelion
when it’s farthest away from Neptune’s orbit plane. So Pluto’s orbit is tilted. It reaches perihelion when it’s far up
away from the plane of the solar system. And over time, it only wobbles slightly
around this geometry. So altogether, Pluto is in what’s called
the periodic orbit of the third kind, one of a class of orbits identified by the 19th-century
French mathematician Henri Poincare. Such orbits have a resonance period
and a specific tilt to the planet. The gravitational forces – so these are really fascinating orbits – the gravitational forces
of the planets on each other have a special respect
for these resonance patterns and we’ll run into this
again with Planet 9. These peculiarities of Pluto’s orbit kept celestial mechanicians
really busy for many decades. And as a graduate student,
I learned about these puzzles of Pluto and I wondered, ”How did Pluto get to be so… this peculiar planet?” And I proposed an answer. I proposed this answer
that you’re seeing in this animation here, a giant planet migration that the giant planets Jupiter, Saturn,
Uranus and Neptune formed in a very narrow annulus around the Sun, and then later spread apart. I calculated that as Neptune
slowly spiraled outward, an originally circular coplanar, Pluto,
was shepherded into this resonance and transformed
into this elliptical, tilted orbit. Now, lucky for me, for an astronomer, it’s really lucky
that subsequent discoveries over the few years
after I proposed this idea, discoveries of the Kuiper belt, many small planets beyond Neptune
that are in resonance with Neptune, have bolstered this hypothesis
of giant planets migrating. So our planets didn’t form
where we see them today. Computer simulations suggest that Uranus and Neptune
and possibly additional giant planets were shaken up, scattered for a long time,
for millions of years, before settling into the orbits
we observe today. Now, more recently,
hints of a massive planet in the very distant solar system
have been noticed. The orbits of the most distant
Kuiper belt objects are kind of clustered, they are not randomly oriented
as we might expect. So if a distant planet – the true Planet 9, not the little Pluto – if a distant Planet 9 is shepherding
these Kuiper belt objects, we would like to know
how massive it is, where is it orbiting. Now, computer simulations tell us that the planet is up
to 10 times Earth’s mass at somewhere between
300 to 900 times Earth’s distance. But these simulations tell us nothing
about its position in the sky, where it is in its orbit
at the current time, where we would go look for it. Now, when I looked carefully at the data,
I noticed another intriguing pattern; numbers again. You didn’t expect to see
tables here, did you? (Laughter) So what I noticed was that the ratios of the orbital periods
of the most distant objects are close to small whole numbers. Now, this could be mere numerology
or it could be a real clue. It could be a real clue
if a massive planet – and it could be a real
and valuable clue, I’ll show you – were indeed shepherding these Kuiper belt
objects and orbital resonances – If a planet were indeed shepherding
these Kuiper belt objects and resonances, then we’d have some clue
as to where the planet is, just like Pluto’s resonance with Neptune. If we know where Pluto is,
we know where Neptune is not. It’s not near Pluto’s perihelion. So I searched for an orbit of Planet 9 that would be resonant
with the distant Kuiper belt, these Kuiper belt objects. There are only a small number
of possibilities, of likely possibilities. The choice most consistent
with the orbital clustering we’ve seen is an orbit of period near 17,000 years, a very long period. So this planet is moving
really slowly in the sky. This singular choice
of Planet 9’s orbit period leads to simple resonant geometries of the distant Kuiper belt objects
relative to Planet 9 like the shapes that you see
on the screen now. These shapes of the resonant orbits
show us the portions of the orbital path where this hypothetical planet
cannot be at the current time. In addition, there are only two choices,
or two approximate choices, of the tilt of this planet’s orbit. One is it’s either close to the planes
of these distant Kuiper belt objects or it follows these Poincaré’s
periodic orbits of the third kind that I mentioned before,
so it has a specific tilt. And those two choices turn out to be one that’s just 18 degrees
tilted to the plane of Earth’s orbit; the other one is tilted 48 degrees
to our planet’s orbit. It remains now to refine
our mathematical predictions, and test them with telescopes
to prove that this planet really exists. or if perhaps the apparent patterns
in the distant Kuiper belt are a fluke, a statistical fluke of a small sample. We only have about a dozen objects
giving us these clues. So should we find Planet 9? It will be a triumph of both mathematics
and advanced astronomical technology. Again, yet again, what will it mean
to discover a distant large planet? Well, we will have
a more complete inventory and a new self-image of the solar system. It may make horoscopes
more accurate finally. (Laughter) (Applause) Well, for scientists, it will stimulate
new research on the origin of comets. This Planet 9 roams
in this reservoir of frozen bodies, the remnants of our solar system,
far out in the distant solar system. How does it affect the frequency
of comets that come to us, so we can see them in the sky? It’s going to change our ideas
about how comets arrive in the inner solar system. It will also stimulate new research
on the formation of the solar system. How did the solar system manage
to look like this clockwork mechanism that Newton and Kepler believed in despite having this history
of scattering of planets? Almost surely this planet was scattered
from maelstrom closer in. Are there even more planets
roaming in the distance? How did the scattering of this planet
affect the course of our own planet? It almost surely did. So Planet 9 will provide a new challenge and a new destination
for future exploration. And I thank you. (Applause)

Comments 100

  • I can see Pluto coming in and smashing into us like a big F U

  • TedX the X stands for Nimrod


  • She was doing Ok until she hung her hat on 'Gravity'. Panet X was found by Harrington. Predcted by the great Chilean Astronomer. The system is here. Look up.

  • I’m in love

  • since when has pluto not been our 9th planet ??


  • Electric universe is the only true way

  • By 2 minutes and 30 seconds in, she signals that religion has been in its death throes from that enlightening moment and did not even know it yet!

  • It blows my mind that there may be another planet out there. We've been finding planets in distant star systems for decades, but there might be more planets within our own that our current technology and mathematics haven't been able to find is just fascinating.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Im now hearing we have more than 9 planets in our solar system. NASA never tells us the truth.

  • Really the search for PLANET 9 is it being searched for again ?

  • I'm the boy from outer space microwave in cockpit of AEROSPACE UNIT let alone APOLLO LUNAR LANDING FOREIGN DOMESTIC TEAMS

  • Why do these cunts always give a history lesson … so boring.

  • Another over educated scientist that will not believe the Sumerians know more .

  • Gill Broussard. Planet 7 X YouTube.

  • It’s above Earth right now – check out Dr Claudia Albers Phd

  • chatting nasa's imagination what a load of rubbish

  • where ever its dark in space is where it is the magnetic field it generates does not let light escape so where its dark

  • its a system not a planet

  • Ok folks, ive been at this for over four years. Im dialed in and i know a lot more than this guy.
    Ive been tracking the darkstar and i know where it is now and when you will feel its effects on the earth.
    I refer to it as the darkstar for a number of reasons. Its the burned out core of a massive magnatar. A solid iron core so dense, that the electromagnetic field generated is so strong. Some of the light being reflected off the darkstars surface as well as some of the dim infrared light it does still emit. Bends back in on itself and is a partial blackhole. Makes it difficult to spot it with a telescope. Its also coming in at a 36 degree south angle to the suns ecliptic. Its the reason the united states built the worlds largest infrared telescope in antarctica.
    The darkstars em field is so powerful its been effecting the earths magnetosphere for a hundred years and has caused all of the planets to heat up. Global warming is system wide.
    The sun is 99% of the solar sytems mass. All the planets and moons make up 1%. The darkstar has tilted our sun 6'degrees south of its own ecliptic.
    The earths pole shift has begun and is increasing everyday. The actual shift is coming soon and is a major extinction event. Prophecy predicts in eighteen months. The tribulations started last sept 23rd and by my calculations we have between three to six years. But could come early like eighteen months from now. Prophecy and the darkstars altual alignment does coincide with one another.
    When the darkstar is close enough it will grab hold of and align the earths magnetic field with its own. Also referred to as crustal displacement, where the earths crust stops rotating but the water still has momentum. The oceans and lakes empty their contents onto land. A two mile high wall of water washes across the continent.
    The darkstar also causes the sun to mini nova. Too long to add for this comment.

    The darkstars current location:
    The darkstar has crossed inside the orbits of our gas giants. Somewhere in the neighborhood of the asteroid belt and dwarf planet Ceres. The earth will be aligned between the two stars this late november early december. Expect earthquake and volcanic activity to increase. We could see the first in a number of coming cataclysmic events. The following late november of 2020 is when some prophecy predicts great earthchanges.
    I havent begun to explain my calculations as to the darkstars current location. Ill take a break here and edit later. Feel free to ask me anything.

  • Shame she didn't give credit where credits due. Islamic astronomy played a significant role in the revival of Byzantine[3] and European[4] astronomy following the loss of knowledge during the early medieval period, notably with the production of Latin translations of Arabic works during the 12th century. Islamic astronomy also had an influence on Chinese astronomy[5] and Malian astronomy.[6][7]

    A significant number of stars in the sky, such as Aldebaran, Altair and Deneb, and astronomical terms such as alidade, azimuth, and nadir, are still referred to by their Arabic names.[8][9] A large corpus of literature from Islamic astronomy remains today, numbering approximately 10,000 manuscripts scattered throughout the world, many of which have not been read or catalogued. Even so, a reasonably accurate picture of Islamic activity in the field of astronomy can be reconstructed.[10]

  • Wow! This woman just throws sumeria under a bus big time. Her perception of history is so off. Niburu was talked about 5000 bc.

  • As I was listening to this talk, I kept imagining Einstein's model of gravity as a sheet suspended with the Sun at the center and the planets circling the dimpled sheet only to be ultimately drawn to the center. Then I though of all the planets with their own gravitation "sheets." If the Sun and all the planets are not on a linear sheet then there are sheets bunched up all over the place until it is a big ball of infinite sheets…then I remembered the drier needed to be checked.

  • If the ancients had such a simple understanding of the cosmos, why are there accurate depictions of the solar system carved in Mesopotamia? Even more interesting, why did they carve a lion in bedrock to mirror the constellation leo 12,000 years ago?

  • We need to do a Correction Galileo's history. He got into Theology got in trouble with the Church, and he should of stay in science in explain orbital of planets. The monks who also knew as much as Galileo told him not to get into Theology. Basically, it was his fault that was put into house arrest.

  • If a full sky survey can't find a red dwarf, and a super-computer can't find a ninth planet, then why do these people still preach this nonsense?

  • Dr. Ranu gives a much more interesting presentation at least. The guy from Penn gave less info in a rather dry, drab way. Thank you Dr. Ranu!

  • Planet 9 from Outer Space!

    (Sorry. Had to say it.)

  • Nice lady but doesn't know squat about history.

  • The " Ancients" knew about Uranus Neptune, and they knew how the Earth came into existence..Spend more time actually looking through a telescope instead of theoretical math and by like Carlos Munos Ferrada///He found an entire solar system that orbits our sun…And at time comes extremely close…

  • what planets? you mean earth is a PLANEt right. Planets are lights in the sky, you got no proof otherwise, and you know it

  • 2 years ago it came and went, no one mentioned it.

  • What are you talking about ?
    Dont you know the earth is flat, and all that ?

  • Why call it planet 9, every other planet has its old names so its Niburu .

  • Another case of bad science and refusal to look at ancient civilizations as advanced. Very poor considering ancients knew more than we do now, not pseudoscience and theory. Sumerians knew of the Nibiru and some scientist wans to claim as if he found some new planet. The Sumerian also numbered the planets from the outside in why is that? Start doing real science and stop plagiarizing what ancients have documented.

  • Jupiter has a inner 8 moons and a outer 8 moons on near 45degree to the inner plan so I suspect you will find 4 Mars sized on that 48 degree angle you were talking about

  • She needs to get with the Electric universe and study the ancient records.

  • 17th centry, huh? Yet around 1000 bc the Mesoamerican knew about the prepossession of the universe. 3000bc (if you buy that time frame I have a bridge in NY to sell you) the pyramids were built and aligned north-south with an accuracy of up to 0.05 degrees……..

  • I opened my channel last January, I think you might like it.

  • take a look at Alf's map…

  • There is no planet 9. . The orbits are irregular because they’re relatively small objects and outside stars in the past have passed near our solar system

  • I don't get it. The planet Puto is #9 isn't it?

  • The 9thplanet is in a different light spectrum and that makes it hard to see!

  • She the 'Vera Rubin' (Gamma/Outer Galaxy speeds etc) of the Outer Solar System! ;~) Too much pre-amble though. People who go to TED know basic science history! Just tell us what's new! What did you find…

  • all the planets were known to the ancients .
    why are you being dishonest.
    are you protecting your worthless as far as knowledge college education ? the truth is out your gig is up.

  • That shout-out to Pluto was beautiful, she didn't have to do that

  • BUT AFRICAN PREACHERS, PREACH US ABOUT 12 PLANETS WITH THEIR NAMES ETC. WOW I big respect to our spiritual preachers. That means they right about everything..

  • There are no planets…only wandering stars. There is no land on any of these entities which will be judged in the end for not staying in there correct motion as God commanded them.

  • So they can find planets around other stars but they can't find planet 9🤔

  • Nibiru is….the Union Jack. You we have all been steering at it all our lives…but did not know what we were steering at…what would I know heh? I'm just another Māri boy.

  • 'Extrasolar planets'..? Like a binary to ours? Nemesis..Planet's heading right towards Earth..On there way OUT from our system..Got loads of proof.

  • And we are several thousand, that got it, sharing crazy now..Could Neowise have caused the eq CA? Why did they remove it from the charts?

  • WHY NOT CALL IT PLANET X? It's, they, are between sun, and Earth..heading towards us..and close enough to go bunker, soon. This is not a joke. Ive seen them, to..Comets orbiting around us..Came with the system. They hide it all, by chemtrails..and or, trying to protect us from some of it. Happens now.
    That girl, might take a new look..Anyone of you can spot them.

  • What the heck was moving across the floor in front of her around 14:00??

  • What are they doing? Don’t they know taxes are due?! 😂

  • we can find other planet outside our solar system but we cant find the 9th planet inside our solar system. why?

  • Why the gun hand reference?

  • Pluto IS a planet. why? Because WE say so.

  • TIME LINE 2:57….PERFECT…." everything in the UNIVERSE IS PERFECT " she said. And that is of TRUTH. The Jewish Messiah JESUS, The only beloved Son of GOD, created everything by himself, and for himself…..everything seen and unseen, by him and for him. Ref: JEWISH HOLY BIBLE; NEW COVENANT SCRIPTURES / COLOSSIANS 1:14-17. Everything was SPOKEN into creation, by MESSIAH JESUS. Ref: GENESIS 1:1-2:3. Amein.

  • sumerian tablets tell of uranus /neptune/pluto and nibiru

  • The Sumerians new about Uranus it was on there cylinder seals

  • I wonder if the orbits follow the golden ratio and fibonacci sequence?

  • Llyod Pye – see his lectures

  • You are an astronomical quality rare and ingenious but in history very weak all the Maqltha was known by the Sumerians and more must read their history may benefit you

  • if she did all this why does she need a tele prompter

  • I just wonder how the old ancient humans have discovered planet X on the rock writings?.. Are we failing them or are we falling behind?. Or Pluto is just moon of planet nine?. haha

  • I dont really care about the history of cosmology just get to the point damn

  • The picture of Uranus at about 7:45 was confusing – not tilted correctly.

  • How come you people don't look towards the sun,to bright for you.

  • Enuma Elish

  • But miss you just see some lights on the sky, what are you talking about, lies prove it if it is not a lie ,drive me there

  • here in arkansas we fuckin hate hindus but this lady makes a lot of sense

  • Our Milky Way galaxy has another galaxy that runs top to bottom through our system creating a right angle thereabouts through the alignment of our Suns system. Few people outside of the study know this

  • Planet NINE wow that was amazing that I share thank you very much for your content with TED

  • Namaste have a beautiful Journey

  • God saves souls

  • God made souls and has always is will always BE

  • I love TEDx Talks, but needed a dictionary for this one. The terms used for planetary alignments, tilts, etc was lost on me.

  • 0:50
    Do you know what else is concerned about the shape of their orbits and their period ratios?

  • She sounds like she wants to cry when she talks 🙂

  • Yes the Sumarian were on to it. Beings ever coming from there? Would have to be way cold out there… beings perhaps?🌴

  • Sure, you must make a joke about horoscope to augument your credintials, isn't it ?

  • Have to read off a teleprompter

  • Nice

  • I love the science and the sleuthing of it all!

  • id do her

  • damn, I though she was going to talk about Nibiru, or Kolob or something. Btw, Uranus was originally named George

  • Nice speaker

  • Wow!! At the people cheering for Pluto…..simply amazing so many smart people with a blinded clap clap clap…call me crazy but the odds of Pluto the cartoon character we all come to know and love actually being on Pluto the demoted planet is beyond all odds …the odds arent really easy to grasp let alone add up…so upon doing a little research and then alot of research one comes to ones conclusion…it turns out to be the highest form of mockery on the naive gullible brainwashed masses of people you could ever imagine…if you can see this for what really is then it's hardly something to cheer over…if not then clap clap….. clap away….its shocking and it's very sad.

  • Blinded me with science…clap clap clap

  • Professional courtesy requires these astronomers give thanks to Carlos Farada, dr. Harrington and the Sumarians else its plagarism.

  • The one thing I know about 9s and 3s is there is always a 6 in the triangle. Follow the pattern. Xo

  • What a packed Portland crowd!

  • "Why not call it Pluto?" – 11 year old Venetia Burney suggests to her grandfather(Falconer Madan)  the new planet be named after the God of the Underworld. Her Grandfather (who couldn't agree more) then contacts Clyde Tombaugh the Lowell Observatory.Clyde Tombaugh liked the proposal because it started with the initials of Percival Lowell who had predicted the existence of Planet X, which they thought was Pluto because it was coincidentally in that position in space. On 1 May 1930, the name Pluto was formally adopted. (via WIKI)
    also – Falconer's brother Henry Madan had  (in 1878) named the moons of Mars – after Phobus and Deimus.
    – Thats a phair effort from one family !

    Now ..something you really need to know ..It's all about Uranus !!
    34 Tauri

  • Listened carefully, to many theoretical assumptions. So with Hubble telescope that can see distant stars, why havent we found planet 9 yet??????????.

  • The title should be "The search for the assumed/theoretical planet 9, around which tailored mathematics appears to fit her shepherding concept, but the theoretical planet 9, should be within range of our teleescopes"…This is yet Another stab at evolultion to explain the fine tuning of the universe that supposedly formed itself from an inexplainable big bang, arranging itself into extremely comlex order, developing self replicating proteins, which need pre-existing proteins to do this..ALL BY RANDON ACCIDENTAL SIMPLE MOLECULES WAITING LONG ENOUGH FOR THE NEXT RANDOM ACCIDENT TO change it into the next advanved stage which will then wait indefinately for the nxt.. erm? Could you explain this please, as I cant believe that information-carrying proteins can be made randomly. PLEASE LISTEN TO GARY PARKER, & James Tour, biomolecular synthesis researcher.

  • Boring nothing new

  • Great job what a lovely lady !

  • The Jewish Gemara book talks about Planet X. Scientists think they make new discoveries LOL

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