SETI just found more evidence there could be a 9th planet lurking in our solar system

Known for his controversial campaign to demote Pluto and strip it of its planet status, astronomer Dr. Michael Brown of Caltech is making headlines again. This time the astronomer has a much more favorable proposal that hints at the existence of a ninth planet in our solar system. Regarded with interest by the astronomy community, Brown’s idea recently received support from an unrelated SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project that discovered a large celestial object in the predicted  location of this mysterious ninth planet.

The proposed planet (which for now is just called “planet nine”) is too far away to be seen with current telescopes — but that doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be detected via other methods. Brown focused on gravitation influence, recently presenting data that shows an unexpected orbital pattern in several solar system outer members. These six Kuiper Belt Objects (KBO) all have unusual orbits when they approach the sun. Despite having different orbital lengths, all six objects come towards the sun on the same side, in the same orbital plane and at similar distances. More than just a coincidence, Brown believes these aberrations are the result of this ninth planet, whose elongated orbit brings its gravity influence in proximity to these celestial objects.

Brown’s case for the existence of the ninth planet was met with a fair amount of skepticism at first, but his theory was recently bolstered by an announcement given during a SETI Colloquium. At this meeting, a team of researchers presented information on a new Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) with an orbit of 30 and 50 AUs (Astronomical Units), where one AU is the distance from the Earth to the Sun. According to a tweet by Brown, the new KBO is “exactly where planet nine says it should be.”

Astronomers are interested in Brown’s proposal, but the community is taking a conservative response to his claim as it is based on the sometimes unreliable measurement of gravitation influence. This is not the first time a scientist has claimed to have found a new planet using this technique. Previous astronomers have used similar gravitational observations to predict the presence of other planets, but all of these claims have turned out to be false.

Emerging Tech

Cosmic dust bunnies: Scientists find unexpected ring around Mercury

A pair of scientists searching for a dust-free region near the Sun have made an unexpected discovery: a vast cosmic dust ring millions of miles wide around the tiny planet Mercury.
Movies & TV

Once Upon A Time in Hollywood poster puts Pitt and DiCaprio front and center

Quentin Tarantino's ninth feature film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, uses the infamous 1969 Manson Family murders as a backdrop to tell a story set in bohemian Los Angeles. Here's everything we know so far.
Emerging Tech

New Hubble image displays dazzling Messier 28 globular cluster

Messier 28 is a group of stars in the constellation of Sagittarius, located 18,000 light-years from our planet. Thousands of stars are packed tightly together in this sparkling image.
Emerging Tech

Mind-bending model shows Venus isn’t our nearest neighbor — it’s Mercury

Every textbook and table on the internet agrees -- the closest planet to Earth is Venus. But a new mathematical model shows that this is wrong. In fact, the planet closest to us on average is Mercury.
Emerging Tech

Body surrogate robot helps people with motor impairments care for themselves

A team from Georgia Tech has come up with an assistant robot to help people who have severe motor impairments to perform tasks like shaving, brushing their hair, or drinking water.
Emerging Tech

Take a dip in the Lagoon Nebula in first image from SPECULOOS instrument

The European Southern Observatory has released the first image collected by their new SPECULOOS instrument, and it's a stunning portrait of the Lagoon Nebula, a swirling cloud of dust and gas where new stars are born.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.
Business

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.
Computing

At $99, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano minicomputer seeks to bring robotics to the masses

Nvidia announced a new A.I. computer, the Jetson Nano. This computer comes with an 128-core GPU that Nvidia claims can handle pretty much any A.I. framework you could imagine. At $99, it's an affordable way for A.I. newbies to get involved.
Computing

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 
Business

British Airways’ new Club Suite for business class comes with a door

British Airways is going after a bigger slice of the business class market with the imminent launch of the Club Suite. The plush seating option offers a more private space as well as an easier route to the bathroom.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.