By analyzing ancient manuscripts and data gathered by Anglo-Saxon Astronomers, in combination with modern data by NASA and other space agencies, experts from Queen’s University hope to narrow down the location of elusive Planet Nine.
In the distant past, ancient astronomers spotted countless things in the night sky.
For example, thousands of years ago, the ancient Egyptians discovered a star located 92 light years away.
We have reported in earlier articles how a study by scientists from the University of Helsinki analyzed an ancient Egyptian papyrus and found it is the oldest preserved historical text of naked-eye observations of a variable star located 92 light years away, the eclipsing binary star Algol.
An 1145 depiction of ‘Halley’s Comet’. Image Credit: Queen’s University Belfast.
Now, scientists at Queen’s University in Belfast believe how trails of dust and gas in the night sky, spotted by Anglo-Saxon astronomers may provide evidence of the mysterious Planet Nine.
In 2016, astronomers from Caltech published a study reporting the existence of an undiscovered planet, located in the outermost reaches of our solar system.
It is estimated that Planet Nine has ten times the mass and two to four times the diameter of the Earth.
According to Caltech astronomers, Planet Nine has a massive orbit, meaning that it takes between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make a single pass around the sun.
But even before 2016 have astronomers debated whether such a rogue planet may exist at the edge of our solar system.
But despite searching for the elusive world, astronomers on Earth have still not managed to find it.
According to news reports of January 2016, astronomer Michael Brown suggests there is a ninety percent probability that such a planet really exists. Astronomers say that the existence of such an alien world would explain the strange way distant objects in space move.
This is the Bayeux Tapestry and it features a depiction of the 1066 Halley’s Comet. Now, experts from Queen’s University Belfast say that trails of dust and gas in the night sky recorded by ancient Anglo-Saxon astronomers may contain evidence of the elusive Planet Nine. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
And since planet nine has eluded discovery, scientists from Queen’s University believe how ancient depictions of comets in the Dark Ages may provide crucial data on the whereabouts of the mysterious alien world.
Experts believe how ancient Anglo-Saxon accounts, together with modern scientific methods could be used to investigate the effects of such a world and spot it in the sky.
According to medieval historians and astronomers from Queens University, we may learn about the enigmatic planet by exploring the Anglo-Saxon understanding of the cosmos.
Experts combine record of comets spotted by Anglo-Saxon astronomers, as well as contemporary images of space objects, including data obtained from NASA and The Northern Ireland Amateur Astronomy Society.
By combining modern data with ancient accounts, researchers believe they could narrow down the location of planet nine.
“This research project renegotiates the meaning and importance of medieval science and demonstrates how medieval records of comets can help test the theory of the existence of the elusive ‘Planet Nine’.”
“Looking at records of comets in Old English, Latin, Old Irish and Russian texts we aim to show that the early medieval people actually recorded genuine astronomical observations, reflecting their interest in cosmology and understanding of the heavens. The idea for this study came about from the strong desire to challenge the assumption and perceived lack of scientific inquiry in the early Middle Ages, commonly referred to as ‘Dark Ages’,” explain experts.
Dr. Pedro Lacerda, an astrophysicist, and expert on comets and the solar system at Queen’s added: “It is fantastic to be able to use data which is about one thousand years old to investigate a current theory. To me, this is one of the most fascinating aspects of our project.
“Any strong indication that a ‘Planet Nine’ is required to fit the comet sightings recorded in the Middle Ages will be a unique result and will certainly have a remarkable impact on our understanding of the solar system.”
Reference: Queen’s University Belfast.
Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Queen’s University Belfast