Uncommon Knowledge: How many planets are in the solar system?
While some of us are still recovering from Pluto’s removal from the planetary roster of our solar system, there may still be another dark horse contender out there for the designation of 9th Planet. Pluto, which is actually much smaller than Earth’s moon, is just one of several “dwarf planets” that circle the earth in a ring of asteroids and space debris known as the Kuiper Belt. But recently, as astronomers have observed the Kuiper Belt, they have found that its objects are not all orbiting in regular patterns. What’s throwing them off course? One possibility is the gravitational pull of an undiscovered planet, perhaps even four times as large as the Earth. Unfortunately, orbiting so far away from the sun means that it would reflect very little light, making it nearly impossible to find even with advanced equipment.