Galactic scientists are struggling to locate the long-speculated "Planet Nine" at the outer edges of the Solar System, potentially indicating that models predicting that planet’s existence may have been flawed.
Some astronomers have argued that the gravitational clustering of certain objects in the distant Kuiper Belt could be explained by an as-of-yet unobserved massive planet far outside the orbit of Neptune.
Yet "a new analysis of [the] distant, icy objects … questions the evidence that they are under the gravitational pull of a huge planet," Nature reported this week.
Researchers led by a scientist at the University of Michigan said they determined that the behavior of those objects "could be explained without the presence of a nearby planet," Nature said.
"That doesn’t mean that Planet Nine isn’t there," one of the researchers claimed, "but it’s not necessary to explain the data."