More evidence has been found to suggest that a planet may be hiding in the far reaches of our solar system. Seven Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) have been observed orbiting in an unexpected pattern, leading scientists to hypothesise that the gravitational pull of a giant unobserved planet is responsible.
In January 2016, a team from the California Institute of Technology published a report in The Astronomical Journal, describing the first evidence for the potential planet - named 'Planet Nine'. It described six KBOs clustering in a strange pattern that with "only a probability of 0.007% to be due to chance."
The latest discovery is of a seventh KBO showing a similar pattern. Astronomers are now waiting for the scientists to release a report documenting the latest findings.
The report suggested that the KBOs were reacting to a giant planet's gravity. This planet would be 10 times larger than Earth, and 20 times further from the Sun than Neptune. Researchers used the Canada France Hawaii Telescope to observe the seventh KBO. This discovery was reported at a presentation form the SETI Institute on 24 March.
Mike Brown, who worked in the team which released the report, has tweeted saying the discovery of a seventh KBO has increased the likelihood of the planet existing (although he hasn't crunched the numbers). Brown tweeted a picture from one of the slides, showing the unexpected orbits of the seven KBO's.
"Hey Planet Nine fans, a new eccentric KBO was discovered. And it is exactly where Planet Nine says it should be," Brown tweeted.
Based on the KBO behaviour, the scientists have been able to predict how long it would take for the hypothetical Planet Nine to orbit the Sun; 10,000 to 20,000 years.
Nasa says that it is still too early to confirm the existence of the planet yet, and describes the research as "just a prediction." Jim Green, Director of Planetary Science at Nasa called for caution in a YouTube video, but said that Nasa would help to try and find Planet Nine.