AS evidence of a hidden and giant planet on the edge of our solar system emerges, Wiganers are being asked: what name you would give it?
Scientists discovered Planet Nine using computer simulations – and the new addition is thought to be about 10 times more massive than Earth, and similar to Uranus or Neptune in its gaseous make-up.
But what name would you pick for it?
We’ve already asked our online readers for a few suggestions and they range from the intellectually considered to the sentimental to the humorous.
Scott Morris thought Romulus – one of the legendary founder twins of Rome – while Sharon and Paul Sharkey ventured Pluto II.
Alan Johnson put forward Kronos, the Greek mythology Titan, while David Barr thought Sapphire a suitable moniker.
Given the recent death of one of the UK’s greatest rockstars, it wasn’t surprising that both Bowie and Ziggy Stardust were offered up. And for further topicality Tattooine – the fictional home planet of Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films – also popped up.
Of the Wiganish suggestions, Moider was suggested by Carla Evangelou, and while Harold Aspey said that it should really be named after the scientist who discovered it, he cheekily proposed it be called Babby’s yed!
The new world, which is yet to be observed directly by astronomers, is described as a “true planet” with 5,000 times the mass of Pluto, which was re-classified as a minor or “dwarf” planet.
The latest discovery is believed to trace a highly elongated orbit, with it taking between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make one journey around the sun – being 20 times further away from it than Neptune.
Prof Mike Brown, from the California Institute of Technology was one of the astronomers who announced the discovery in the Astronomical Journal.
He said: “This would be a real ninth planet. There have only been two true planets discovered since ancient times, and this would be a third.
“It’s a pretty substantial chunk of our solar system that’s still out there to be found, which is pretty exciting.”
Scientists believe Planet Nine traces a highly elongated orbit and takes between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one journey around the sun.
Planet Nine is, on average, about 20 times further from the sun than Neptune, which orbits at a distance of about 2.8 billion miles.
Once there were thought to be nine planets in the solar system, but then the outermost, Pluto, was demoted to the status of “dwarf planet”.
There is no doubt that the new world, which has not yet been observed directly, is a “true” planet.
Planet Nine has 5,000 times the mass of Pluto, which inhabits a ring of rocky bodies beyond Neptune known as the Kuiper Belt.
Its existence was inferred from the gravitational influence it has on several Kuiper Belt objects with highly unusual orbits.
Computer simulations confirmed that a large new planet was the most likely explanation for the observations.
The clinching evidence came from a prediction that a ninth planet would result in Kuiper Belt objects having orbits inclined perpendicularly to the plane of the planets.
In the last three years, four objects were found that behaved in this way.