From Penn State: “Data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has found no evidence for a hypothesized body sometimes referred to as “Planet X.”

Penn State Bloc

Pennsylvania State University

07 March 2014
No Writer Credit

1
Credit: Penn State University

Data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has found no evidence for a hypothesized body sometimes referred to as “Planet X.”

NASA Wise Telescope
NASA/Wise

This body was thought to be a large planet or small star orbiting in the far reaches of our solar system. Astronomers searched millions of images taken by WISE over the whole sky, finding no Saturn-like body out to a distance of 10,000 astronomical units (au) from the sun, and no Jupiter-like body out to 26,000 au. One astronomical unit equals 93 million miles. Earth is 1 au, and Pluto about 40 au, from the sun.

This chart shows what types of objects WISE can and cannot see at certain distances from our sun. Bodies with larger masses are brighter, and therefore can be seen at greater distances. For example, if a Jupiter-mass planet existed at 10,000 au, WISE would have easily seen it. But WISE would not have been able to see a Jupiter-mass planet residing at 100,000 au — it would have been too faint.

The chart was created by Janella Williams of Penn State University, University Park, Pa.

WISE was put into hibernation upon completing its primary mission in 2011. In September 2013, it was reactivated, renamed NEOWISE and assigned a new mission to assist NASA’s efforts to identify the population of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects. NEOWISE will also characterize previously known asteroids and comets to better understand their sizes and compositions.

More information on WISE, and its latest adaptation, the asteroid-hunting mission NEOWISE, is online here http://www.nasa.gov/wise.

See the full article here.

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

STEM Icon

Stem Education Coalition

Penn State Campus

WHAT WE DO BEST

We teach students that the real measure of success is what you do to improve the lives of others, and they learn to be hard-working leaders with a global perspective. We conduct research to improve lives. We add millions to the economy through projects in our state and beyond. We help communities by sharing our faculty expertise and research.

Penn State lives close by no matter where you are. Our campuses are located from one side of Pennsylvania to the other. Through Penn State World Campus, students can take courses and work toward degrees online from anywhere on the globe that has Internet service.

We support students in many ways, including advising and counseling services for school and life; diversity and inclusion services; social media sites; safety services; and emergency assistance.

Our network of more than a half-million alumni is accessible to students when they want advice and to learn about job networking and mentor opportunities as well as what to expect in the future. Through our alumni, Penn State lives all over the world.

The best part of Penn State is our people. Our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends in communities near our campuses and across the globe are dedicated to education and fostering a diverse and inclusive environment.