Astronomers from Caltech claims to have discovered a new planet, a new ninth one that fills the empty spot left by Pluto after it was stripped of planet status. It’s supposed to lie much much farther away from the Sun even compared to Pluto’s orbit. While Pluto is about 4.6 billion miles from Earth at its most distant, this new planet is thought to be 20 billion miles away at its closest, and 100 billion miles away at its farthest. A single orbit could take 10,000 to 20,000 years. (According to the linked article) I suppose it must be a very dark and cold world.
The scientists discovered this planet while attempting to reconcile the difference between the observed movements of some small bodies in distant orbits and their supposed movements predicted by simulation. For the model to match the observations, there should exist an additional planet that is much bigger than earth, and following an orbit far away from the Sun.
All of this is extremely interesting. However, the reason I’m writing this post is because of the name. Since it’s a potentially new ninth planet of the solar system, people seem to be calling it “Planet IX” for now. I say, can we please please keep the name? 😛
IX is already the name of a fictional planet in Frank Herbert’s Dune universe, and it’s also said to have gotten this name due to it being the ninth planet in its system. The fictional IX has a machine and technology oriented society, and many technological innovations from IX (No-ships, Navigation devices, and Hwi Noree, to name a few) help shape the Dune world as the story unfolds.
I am aware that Dune is one of the reference materials that planetary names can come from. It would be a fun name to have for one of our own planets, eh?
I write this post with a bit more than half amount of seriousness.