Search for the Ninth Planet in manuscripts from the Middle Ages
The far corners of our solar system may be home to an ice giant – a hypothetical Ninth Planet. Its presence would explain some of the gravitational forces affecting the Kuiper belt. Researchers from Northern Ireland have joined the search for the planet, but they are looking for it not in the sky, but in… medieval records and tapestries.
There are thousands of medieval records on Earthoin documenting the transits of comets. Dwoch scientistsoIn Krole University of Belfast wants to use old manuscripts and textiles to solve the mystery of the Solar System‘s Ninth Planet.
– There are many recordsoin historical languages in Old English, Latin and Old Slavic,” argues medieval expert and one of the project’s leaders Marilina Cesario. – People living in the early Middle Ages were fascinated by the movements of celestial bodies, he adds.
From the notesow can infer the dates of observations, which can prove very useful for the wspomodern astronomersow. If the Ninth Planet does exist, it is likely to be about 10 times larger than Earth and move in an orbit 20 times farther than Neptune’s orbit.
The hypothetical planet should not be confused with Pluto (considered a dwarf planet) or Nibiru (a completely fictional planet, whichora would destroy the Earth). Scientists suspect that the Ninth Planet exists because its presence would explain some of theore gravitational forces interacting with the Kuiper belt. So far, however, it has not been observed. Now the new data are to be provided by the research transferow from the Middle Ages.
– We can trace the orbits of known comets and calculate the time at which they should appear over Earth in the Middle Ages – mobind scientists involved in the project. The exact time of the comet’s appearance may depend on whether the "Planet Nine" actually exists. Computer simulations taking all the data into account can then be put together with the exact time of comet appearance.