WorldWide Telescope used to visualize orbit for possible new Planet Nine
Caltech researchers Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune. This new finding is of interest to people all over the globe and much of the story of this fascinating discovery has been told using WorldWide Telescope. Take a look at the YouTube video which includes interview of the researchers as well as animations of orbits of smaller bodies in the outer solar system. The orbits of these smaller bodies are pulled from Minor Planet Center and displayed in WWT. This was all put together by R. Hurt (IPAC) using WWT.
If you would like to incorporate aspects of this visualization into scientific communication and outreach, you can use WWT and the files below.
- WWT Layer File: Mike Brown Planet 9 v4.wwtl
- Video created with WWT: Planet9_anim.mp4
- WWT Tour file: Coming soon!
For more information about the discovery itself, you can see the original press release.