Astronomer Dr. David Gerdes on the possibility of a ninth planet
Grand Rapids-Is there a ninth planet after all? The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) and Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association (GRAAA) hosts Dr. David Gerdes, one of the lead astronomers searching for the ninth planet, on Thursday, March 15 at Schuler Books.
There was a great deal of controversy when Pluto was officially removed as a planet in 2006, and it has not completely died down in the more than a decade that has elapsed since its demotion. Now there is growing evidence that a much larger planet lies beyond Pluto, and its discovery would mean that the solar system has nine planets again.
On Thursday, March 15 at 7 p.m., Dr. Gerdes will explain his latest research in a presentation The Coolest Place in the Solar System: New Worlds Beyond Neptune, located at Schuler Books, 2660 28th St. SE. The event is free and open to the public.
As one of the leading astronomers searching for a ninth planet, Dr. Gerdes is a well-known Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Michigan. Gerdes is currently located in Chile and utilizes a large telescope for his research.
There may be more than one additional planet lurking beyond Neptune. As Dr. Gerdes will explain, whatever is out there is so far away that any reflected sunlight would be very feeble, so its detection involves study of how its gravity effects other objects lying near the fringes of the solar system. These would include Pluto and other Kyper Belt objects.
Dr. Gerdes believes telescopes may now be big enough to detect worlds beyond Neptune if they knew where to look. He and colleagues are making calculations that will tell astronomers where to point telescopes to search. An announcement of a major discovery could be coming in the next few years.
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