Most of us are familiar with the concept of "Planet X," a theorized massive ninth planet orbiting the Sun on the outskirts of the Solar System. In the last few years, NASA has accumulated evidence that the body, whose existence has been hypothesized since ancient times, is probably out there.
Planet X's gravity is believed to cause the orbits of the planets to tilt, relative to the Sun's equator. Some of the orbits are skewed as much as 90 degrees. Astronomers think that Planet X's immense gravity pulls on its companion planets and Kuiper Belt objects just enough to nudge them off a central rotational axis. Speaking of Kuiper Belt objects...
Some bodies similar to Pluto rotate backwards.
At least 5 icy spheres in the Kuiper Belt, a ring of dwarf planets and comets beyond the orbit of Neptune, rotate backwards relative to the majority of other objects. Astronomers credit this phenomenon with the eccentricity of Planet X's orbit and gravitational tug.
Planet X is insanely far away.
If it's out there, Planet X likely has an elongated elliptical orbit that at aphelion (furthest from the Sun) stretches 100 billion miles into space. That's 20 times farther away than Neptune.
Most Solar Systems have a super-Earth, so ours very well could, too.
Planet X is thought to be a "super-Earth," or a rocky planet similar to our own except much bigger. Based on the effects of its gravity, it is estimated that Planet X is an icy world 10-20 times more massive than Earth.
Super-Earths are the rule, not the exception.
Of the thousands of exoplanets observed since the first was discovered in 1995, many have turned out to be so-called super-Earths; giant, terrestrial worlds many times more massive than our own. In fact, super-Earths may be the most common type of rocky planet or water-world in the Universe.
Planet X may be one such super-Earth. Though this is still theoretical, many scientists think that its likely our Solar System is no exception.
Conditions on Planet X are nothing like here on Earth.
Its composition may be similar to Earth's, but because of its distance from the Sun, Planet X would have wildly different traits than our home world. Scientists have hypothesized that Planet X could be one big, cold, dead rock, containing nothing more than organic compounds and a fleeting atmosphere of noble gases.
But Planet X may be too massive to be rocky, which leaves another tantalizing possibility:
Planet X could be a water world with a dense crust of ice covering a massive global ocean. Other objects in the Solar System, like Jupiter's Moon Europa and Saturn's Enceladus, are believed to have liquid water below their surfaces. What makes this possibility so exciting is that on Europa and Enceladus, the surface is scarred with cracks and cravasses from expanding sub-surface liquid. Enceladus even has cryovolcanos that spew water into space. This means that beneath the sea, there are sources of heat. Heat and water are two ingredients necessary for simple life.
Planet X could have plate tectonics.
Earth is the only known planet with a dynamic crust. But that doesn't mean others aren't out there. Planet X, with its immense mass, could have a hot, liquid metal core, just like Earth. This raises the possibility of plate tectonics, which, if anything like Earth, could provide a mixture of compounds necessary for the formation of simple life, like on the early Earth. But...
Planet X would be unimaginably cold.
Because it is so far away from the Sun and receives so little light, Planet X would have surface temperatures hundreds of degrees below zero. Currently, the coldest confirmed place in the Solar System is right next door, on our Moon. In 2009, NASA calculated the temperatures in lunar craters to be -397 degrees Fahrenheit. That's only 35 degrees above Absolute Zero, the theoretical point at which all molecular motion stops.
Life on the surface of Planet X is probably impossible, but if there is a sub-surface ocean, all bets are off.
How could we directly observe Planet X?
Planet X's extreme distance from the Sun would render it nearly impossible to see, even with the most powerful telescopes. But astronomers have another method of detecting distant objects using a phenomenon called occulation.
It's pretty simple, at least in theory. If astronomers can calculate where they think Planet X may be (using the effects of its gravity on nearby objects), they can wait for Planet X to cross in front of a star or groups of stars, or really any other fixed point in deep space.
This method was used by NASA in 2018 to pinpoint a tiny Kuiper Belt object called Ultima Thule, which lies beyond the orbit of Pluto. As Ultima Thule transited a star, its location, speed, and trajectory were calculated, and NASA was able to steer the New Horizons spacecraft into a flyby of the tiny world.
The images New Horizons sent back are stunning (see above). At 4 billion miles away, Ultima Thule is now the most distant place ever visited by humanity.
Planet X may have formed somewhere else.
It's a compelling idea. Even though there is substantial observiational data supporting the existence of Planet X, one glaring question remains: where did it come from?
Right now, no one knows if Planet X formed along with the rest of our Solar System and its 8 planets, thousands of dwarf planets, hundreds of moons, and trillions of comets and asteroids.
Researches say that additional observation could show that Planet X was a rogue planet that formed somewhere - perhaps in another part of the galaxy - and wandered too close to the Sun, whose gravity snagged Planet X off its interstellar path.
Love is so elusive these days isn't it?
Who knows what anyone is looking for in the relationship department anymore.
It's all too exhausting.
But people we keep trying.
RedditorProblemNice5257wanted to hear why so many people are still on the hunt for that perfect one. They asked:
"Why are you single right now?"
I'm single because I've given up. And I'm good. For now.
PeaceSnoop Dogg Reaction GIFGiphy
"I put absolutely no effort into meeting someone."
"Same! Also it's extremely difficult when you feel so at peace being by yourself. The fact that I have to find someone whose presence outweighs my level of comfort being alone seems impossible."
"Hard to meet people when you are a hermit."
"Yeah, I describe myself as a shut-in, lol. I leave my apartment to work, I leave my apartment to buy food, and occasionally I’ll bring out the trash, otherwise I just watch Hulu, play online chess, surf Reddit."
"Same. I've spent months trying to find an apartment I can afford without a roommate and finally settled on a small studio apartment for $1100 a month because I'd rather living in a tiny space and be left the hell alone than share a much nicer place even with a good friend."
"I have too many unsolved issues, i can't in good conscience bring someone else into them."
"Idk your issues but everyone's got some crap. Not sure how unique yours are but everyone's got some crap. It's good to share some of your struggles with other people. Just don't open with it haha."
"Issues unresolved or not, (in my case) only makes it worse when you feel like you could open up to them, and they just take those to use it against yourself afterwards."
"I hardly go out and expose myself to people. I'm uncomfortable with the notion of myself being in a relationship at this point. Also, I'm very dry in terms of personality."
"I spent a year entirely isolated due to covid and now I can't handle physical contact. It makes me really uncomfortable and a hug is enough to make my body shut down. I'm hopeless."
truthCaptain America Lol GIF by mtvGiphy
"Supply chain issue."
"Best answer here."
That's funny. But it feels oddly true.
Ahhh...Think Winnie The Pooh GIFGiphy
"I'm attracted to many, and unattractive to all."
"Last relationship was so toxic, I've sworn off dating, at least for awhile. I haven't had this much free time in ages. It's nice."
"Edit: Hey, it's really great hearing from so many people with similar experiences. Like many of you, I've been taking it in stride and focusing on bettering myself, both physically and mentally. It's done wonders for my health and I feel a whole lot better. I wish y'all the very best. Stay excellent, my friends."
"I'm 35yr old single father to a 5yr old and I work nights. It's hard to find free time to meet someone, especially in my area. If I do have free time to myself, I like staying home and ordering a pizza while drinking some beers and playing video games. I pretty much faced the fact that I will probably be alone for the rest of my life."
"I was in an 8 year relationship (married for two) to my high school sweetheart. Exactly this same time last year, we got divorced because I found out he was cheating on me with my best friend. The best friend I had known LONGER than him and was friends with since fourth grade."
"She was living with us to try to get back on her feet. Yeah lol. So I lost my best friend and the man I had been with for 8 years within the same night. So I moved to another state, got an apartment by myself, and am now single and divorced all by 26. Not really looking unless the right person comes along."
"It’s pretty happy and peaceful now that they’re both out of my life though honestly. You realize people’s toxicity and flaws the most once you get space away from them."
Bad LoopSeth Meyers Whatever GIF by Late Night with Seth MeyersGiphy
"Because my relationships end before they even begin."
"This is my story right here."
Alright. Now that we've laid out all the excuses, let's get to matching with some people.
There is no bigger mystery than what happens to us after we die.
But even those who don't practice an organized religion tend to believe that there is a Heaven, a happy joyful place where our souls will remain for eternity.
No two people share the same idea of what heaven would be like, but everyone who believes in it probably has an idea of the first thing they'd do after entering the pearly gates.
Redditor WeDidItGuyz was curious to hear what would be top on everyone's list upon entering the afterlife, leading them to ask:
"If heaven exists, what’s the first thing you’d do?"
Overcome with joy
"In all reality?"
"Probably cry for about 30 minutes because the biggest existential fear at the very core my humanity has now been lifted."
"If Heaven exists, like 50% of the awesomeness is just the very fact that it exists."heaven gate GIF by South Park Giphy
A re-match long in the making
"Ask my childhood friend Kevon for a race."
"He used to beat me handily when were younger (9-13) and he’d always brag."
"When I got older and faster I moved away so I was never able to race him again."
"We arranged for a race but he was shot multiple times and bound to a wheelchair until he passed a few years ago."
"I wanna race him both in our prime."- Abethegreat1
Reunite with loved ones
"Find my husband, give him a huge hug and never let go again."
"Live our forever together."
"I f*cking love him and miss him so much."- jessdfrench
"Embrace my sweet wife and tell her how proud I am of the kids."- RifleShower
"Try to find my brother."
"Man, I miss him."
"He died in 2020 at age 34."- grummlinds1
"Give my mum and dad a big hug."- goonerjack007Miss U GIF by GIPHY Studios OriginalsGiphy
Achieve the "firsts" we never got to do
"Find my son and have a beer with him."
"Something we never got to do in real life."- tanukis_parachute
Hone new skills
"Try to play Smoke on the water on my harp."- Ashtar-the-Squid
The joy of doing nothing
"Rest."- BanzaikoowaidCare Free Black Girls GIF by AuroraDrawsGiphy
Live on without pain
"Enjoy my healthy back without pain."- Knackbein_
Who knows what's in store for us after our lives come to an end.
But living with the idea that something wonderful awaits when our time has come is all people need to continue to live their lives to the fullest, and treat others with the respect and kindness they deserve.
"Fun facts" generally refers to a tidbit of information about a specific topic which the general public might not have otherwise known about.
But the first word in that term can be misleading.
Indeed, some "fun facts" reveal information that isn't remotely "fun" in the slightes.
Redditor Alternative_kachocho was curious to hear some "fun facts" which were anything but fun, leading them to ask:
What's a 'fun fact' that isn’t fun at all?"
Ironically, something you likely don't think about...
"Your brain blocks you from feeling your organs moving around inside you."- Aydengeist06
Try watching Finding Nemonow...
"Only one in a thousand sea turtles born actually make it to adulthood."- Sebs_123
Shocking new light on an age old classic
"In the books, Stuart Little was never explicitly called a mouse."
"He's pretty much described as a deformed mouse-esque person born form human parents."- Red_Beard47stuart little mouse GIF by VIASAT3Giphy
Nature running it's course...
"There's a bird that feeds its younger offspring to the eldest."- Teacup_Cult
I have no allergies... yet
"Speaking from personal experience here, but your body can randomly decide to become allergic to damn near everything edible at any time."
"Not very fun."- smallemochick
Those poor, innocent creatures.
"In some regions of Australia, 90 percent of koalas have chlamydia, which poses a threat to the species' extinction unless a vaccine is created or widespread koala culling takes place."- tiffanyjcrusekoalas kiss GIFGiphy
They'd still be here if they weren't so delicious...
"The giant tortoise was so delicious, it caused not only itself to be hunted to extinction, but also the dodo."
"Giant tortoise meat was supposedly better tasting than chicken."
"It's fat tasted better spread on bread than butter."
"Also, it was the perfect food for sailors at the time, as their bladders stored 1 litre of purified water, and they could survive without food in hibernation for almost a whole year in the hull of a ship."
"Not to mention, because they evolved without humans, they were easy to hunt."
"You could tie one to your back, and roll another to the ship and they would just let you."
"It was so delicious, they went unrecorded for a long time because expeditions to bring living samples of wildlife to Europe kept eating them on the way."
"Conversely, the dodo, while as easily captured by sailors, tasted awful."
"It was completely unpalatable."
"HOWEVER, one day, someone discovered if you cooked dodo meat in the more delicious tortoise fat, it tasted just like chicken."
"So now, sailors were hunting a few tortoises at a time for their fat and water, storing them, and then hunting dodos on the daily."
"Overhunting, plus the introduction of rats to the environment (because sailors) which would eat eggs, led go the population to decline at a rate they could not breed to keep up, leading to both animals going extinct."- Kyhan
Don't forget the nose plugs
"Antarctica smells like penguin poop."
"Antarctica is a desert, it is too cold for bacteria to live."
"Nothing there to clean up penguin droppings."
"If you are close enough to see penguins, you will also smell them."- gummby8
Makes those long lines so worth it...
"The TSA missed 96% of contraband during an inspection in 2015."- omegasix321All Falls Down Tsa GIF by Kanye WestGiphy
"The person who had the first facial transplant had her face chewed up by her Labrador dog while asleep due to sleeping pill overdose." - User Deleted
It's hard not to read some of these "fun facts" and wonder if there should be an alternative term for the facts which aren't fun.
Oh yeah, probably not....
It's amazing how one change to your lifestyle can improve your daily life.
Be it starting your day with yoga, eliminating foods that don't agree with you, or simply seeing your friends more often, something we're all eager to do after months of quarantine, it's amazing how one little change can make waking up and getting through your day more bearable.
Perhaps the only frustration that comes with this change, is that you only wished you'd started doing it sooner.
"What improved your life so much, you wished you did sooner?"
There is always fun to be had!
"I stopped living my life just waiting for the weekend."
"When you work 5 days a week and have just 2 off, it's not good to be always waiting for those 2 days."
"You can plan something meaningful or fun every day, even if it's just a small thing."- cake_or_cookies
Listening to your dentist can pay off.
"Actually, I use a water pick now."
"Now my hygiene and cleaning visits are a breeze, and I haven't had a cavity in years!"- perrydolia
A change of scene was just the ticket.
"Just packed up and moved thousands of miles away."
"Left everything behind and just started over."
"Besides some debt, a suit case, and contacts for only the non-toxic people in my life, it's been an extremely liberating experience."
"And looking back, nothing was really preventing me from doing it sooner, no real reasons at least."
"I just kept coming up with excuses not to do it until one day I couldn't think of one."- SpicyRiceAndTuna
No more language barriers!
"Now I have a lot of amazing latino friends and I got a lot of great gigs and opportunities because of it."- kellytai1478
Can't beat the commute
"Not everyone can afford this, but moving closer to work."
"My commute went from 45 miserable minutes in traffic glaring in hatred at the tail lights in front of me to a pleasant 15 minute bike ride."
"I got an hour of free time every day and better health."- munificent
When in doubt, check with your doctor
"Got a proper diagnosis."
"I think a lot of people that for years questioned themselves 'what’s wrong with me?' when they finally got diagnosed it’s a big relief and changes a lot in a better way."- popcornostar
There's no expiration date on education
"Bachelor degree at 47 years old."
"Master degree at 50 years old."
"Doubled my salary in 4 years, from just getting by to on track for retiring at 60."- scientistzero
Get your body moving!
"Exercise every day."
"Anxiety and depression are much easier to manage, and I got some confidence I haven't had in years."- darodardar_Inc
"Low impact cardio."
"F*ck, I loved to run, but it destroyed my legs."
"I can swim my little heart out."- Hyperion0000
Stop and enjoy the beauty of the world once and a while
"When I was told that I would lose my eyesight it made me pay more attention to how beautiful the sky was."
"I can still see and I enjoy watching the clouds on a level I can't even explain."- DaniB3
It's hard not to stop and wonder if our lives would have been even better had we made these changes earlier.
But no point in stopping and looking back, when you can just appreciate how great your life is now.