EPL Astronomer Scott Sheppard Talks to The Guardian About the Hunt for Planet X
In 2014, Earth and Planets Laboratory (EPL) astronomer Scott Sheppard first published evidence of a mysterious ninth planet in our Solar system. The new planet, which would be larger than Earth and orbiting well beyond the re-classed Pluto, has eluded the direct gaze of astronomers for many years.
In a recent article published in The Guardian and written by astronomer and journalist Stuart Clark, Sheppard discusses the mounting evidence for the planet and how the Vera Rubin Observatory will revolutionize the search. In the article, Sheppard explains, “I think it’s more likely than unlikely to exist.”
The Vera Rubin Observatory, named for the famed Carnegie astronomer who discovered evidence of dark matter, will allow astronomers to view changes and movement in our Solar System with unprecedented precision and speed. Clark writes, “Rubin is a monster that will devour the sky. Whereas most telescopes would take months or years to survey the whole sky, Rubin will do it in just three nights.”
The Rubin Observatory, slated to begin operations in 2022, is primed to crack the whole search wide open. If Planet X exists, The Rubin Observatory is likely to find it. Sheppard told The Guardian, “That survey is going to change solar system science as we know it.”