The mystery of Planet X deepens: Expert believes the mysterious ninth planet is to blame for wiping out the dinosaurs
Yesterday, more evidence for mysterious ‘Planet Nine’ was revealed
Astrophysicist suggests this planet could have caused extinctions
As Planet X orbits the sun, its tilted orbit slowly rotates and it passes through the Kuiper belt of comets every 27 million years
This orbit causes comets to be knocked into the inner solar system
By ABIGAIL BEALL
30 March 2016
As evidence for a ninth planet in our solar system grows, a 30-year old theory about mass extinctions on Earth is resurfacing.
Evidence was discovered at the beginning of this year for the mysterious ‘Planet Nine’, and since then scientists have been looking for signs that could confirm its existence.
But the mystery of this planet has now deepened after an astrophysicist in the US has claimed this planet could have provoked comet showers that caused mass extinctions on Earth.
Yesterday, astronomer Mike Brown of Caltech, one of the scientists behind the initial announcement of the so-called Planet X, revealed he had found further evidence to support it.
The giant hidden planet is thought to sit on the edge of our solar system and is 10 times more massive than the Earth, gaseous, and similar to Uranus or Neptune.
Now, Daniel Whitmire, a retired professor of astrophysics working at the University of Arkansas Department of Mathematical Sciences has suggested the planet triggers comet showers.
These comet showers could be powerful enough to travel towards Earth’s orbit and ultimately strike the planet and cause mass extinctions.
Whitmire and his colleague John Matese first published research on the connection between Planet X and mass extinctions in the journal Nature in 1985 while working at the University of Louisiana.
At the time there were three explanations proposed to explain the regular comet showers.
These included the presence of a mystery planet on the outskirts of our solar system, dubbed Planet X, the existence of a sister star to the sun, and vertical oscillations of the sun as it orbits the galaxy.
In 1985, an additional planet in the solar system would have taken the total number of planets to 10, as Pluto was still classified as a planet until 2006 – X is 10 in Roman numerals.
The last two ideas have subsequently been ruled out as inconsistent with the paleontological record.
Only Planet X remains as a viable theory, and it is now gaining renewed attention, the university explained.
Whitemire and Matese’s theory is that as Planet X orbits the sun, its tilted orbit slowly rotates and Planet X passes through the Kuiper belt of comets every 27 million years.
This orbit causes comets to be knocked into the inner solar system.