Physicists from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology at Durham University have suggested that what is thought to be the yet-undiscovered Planet Nine could be a small black hole thought to be the size of a bowling ball.
In a recent paper titled “What if Planet 9 is a Primordial Black Hole?” they theorise that this mysterious object with a mass about five to 15 times that of Earth could disturb rocky bodies floating far beyond Neptune, absorbing matter around it. The astronomers suggest seeking for flashes of gamma rays created by interactions of dark matter particles in the accretion disk surrounding the purported black hole to prove or disprove the theory.
Although researchers admit that it is more likely that this enigmatic body is a simple planet, as was initially thought, they call on astronomers to remain open to the idea.
“By simply focusing on the concept of a planet, you restrict the experimental search that you’re undertaking. Once you start thinking about more exotic objects, like primordial black holes, you think in different ways,” one of the study’s authors, James Unwin, told Gizmodo.
Unwin advocated looking for the object in cosmic ray bursts, along with using typical planet-searching tools, like searching in visible light to identify the theorised object’s existence by the effect it has on light emanating from more distant objects.
Caltech researchers presented mathematical evidence there is a Planet X in 2015 after motions of objects past Neptune appeared to be affected. According to their calculations, the body sits between 45 billion and 150 billion kilometers from the Sun.