Planet 9 Could Be a Black Hole?! | SciShow News

In 2016, two Caltech astronomers proposed
that our solar system is home to nine planets.
And no, they didn’t reclassify Pluto.
Instead, they found evidence for a hypothetical
Neptune-sized planet
at least forty billion kilometers from the
far enough that it would take fifteen thousand
years for it to complete one orbit.
In the last three years, this Planet 9 hypothesis
has continued to gain support.
But last week, two other scientists proposed
that this object could be something a little
more exotic.
Instead of a planet out there, they say it
could be a black hole,
but like…a tiny black hole.
Like, the size of your fist.
Like…a chihuahua’s head!
This paper hasn’t gone through peer-review
yet, but it’s making some big claims.
And one way or another, it could teach us
about what’s lurking in our solar system.
This whole Planet 9 thing came about after
researchers noticed something strange
about the outskirts of the solar system.
There’s a lot of small rocky and icy bodies
out there,
and many of them have weird orbits.
Ones so weird that they seem to be affected
by the gravitational pull of some larger,
unknown body – something between 5-15 times
the mass of Earth.
If there’s something out there, it’s probably
a planet,
but technically, any object with the right
amount of mass would do.
Including a special kind of black hole.
Normally, black holes form from massive stars,
so they’re millions of times heavier than
the Earth.
But there’s a hypothetical kind of black
hole that could be much lighter
like, five to fifteen times the mass of our
They’re called primordial black holes,
and they may have been created shortly after
the universe began.
At that time, everything in existence was
packed close together.
And as the idea goes, primordial black holes
when extra dense pockets of matter collapsed
in on themselves.
According to this new hypothesis, an object
like this could have been captured
by the Sun’s gravity, and it would easily
all the weird orbits we’ve seen past Neptune.
Now, since black holes are so dense, this
thing would be small
only about nine centimeters across.
But it might still be easier to spot than
a distant planet.
At least, if you don’t rely on visible light.
Scientists believe that primordial black holes
would be surrounded by halos of dark matter.
This is a type of matter we can’t directly
but that most evidence suggests is out there.
The authors of this paper argue that, occasionally,
dark matter around the black hole
could interact with similar particles and
turn into gamma radiation.
Lucky for us, we have telescopes that can
pick that up.
So theoretically, if we started seeing gamma
ray flashes out past Neptune,
it could be a sign that we have a local black
This hypothesis is definitely in need of more
evidence, but even if it doesn’t pan out,
searching for a primordial black hole wouldn’t
be useless.
It would likely allow us to learn more about
dark matter, primordial black holes,
and the flashes of gamma rays we’ve already
So one way or another, it seems like a possibility
worth investigating.
In other black hole news, because it’s that
kind of week,
a handful of telescopes has detected something
super hardcore:
A black hole three hundred seventy-five million
light-years away,
ripping apart a star with the power of gravity.
The results were published last week in The
Astrophysical Journal.
The discovery itself happened in January,
and the first instrument to notice something
going on was NASA’s TESS.
TESS has been orbiting Earth for a little
over a year now,
and it stares at one large section of sky
for several weeks at a time.
Its main goal is to find planets beyond the
solar system, but because it’s just floating
around out there with its proverbial eyes
it’s bound to observe other phenomena, too.
And that’s what happened last winter.
In January, the telescope picked up an increase
in brightness coming from a distant star.
Then, several days later, less-sensitive instruments
on the ground noticed the same thing.
The event came to be called ASASSN-19bt
after the first project to give us data about
Because even though TESS technically saw it
it only sends data to Earth every two weeks,
so the other team got the naming rights.
This brightening turned out to be the early
stages of a tidal disruption event, or TDE.
Which is a scientific way of saying a star
is getting absolutely wrecked by a black hole.
The murderous culprit sits at the center of
a galaxy called… okay, don’t make me say that.
I don’t know how to say that.
Look, you’re never going to visit this thing.
The bigger point is that this black hole seems
to be
about six million times more massive than
the Sun.
That’s fifty percent more massive than
the supermassive black hole at the center
of the Milky Way.
The more mass an object has,
the more of a gravitational pull it has on
the stuff around it.
So when a star wandered too close to this
black hole, things got messy.
The difference in gravity between one side
of the star and the other became so great
that it overcame the forces holding the star
In other words, the black hole ripped the
star apart.
Some of the star’s gas and plasma likely
escaped into the void of space,
but the rest tumbled down toward the black
creating a swirling disk and a large flare
of radiation we could see from Earth.
Tidal disruption events are super rare, and
scientists have only captured
about forty of them so far.
That means each new observation can teach
us something.
In this case, observing the event early-on
allowed researchers
to chart the extreme drop in the star’s
temperature that happened
within the first few days.
It went from forty thousand degrees Celsius
to only twenty thousand.
Something like this was in our prediction
models, but now we have actual evidence.
Scientists will continue to study this event,
both with TESS and with other instruments.
And ultimately, their data will help them
develop better models for how TDEs happen.
From tiny, hypothetical objects to monsters
that rip apart stars,
there’s a lot in the news about black holes
this week.
But if these papers show us anything, it’s
that there’s always more to learn.
Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow
Space News!
Before you go, I have an update for you!
Every month, we release a new, space-themed
and October’s pin is officially available!
It’s of Sputnik, humanity’s first artificial
and it’s very, very good and shiny and fun.
And you can only get it during the month of
October, so if you’re interested,
check out the link in the description or the
merch shelf below the video.


  1. I know it sounds cool, but throwing out information that hasn't been peer reviewed, like you have here, is kind of a disservice. I know, you said it hasn't been peer reviewed, and fair enough, but how many people do you think actually registered that? More likely than not, a lot of viewers will spread this around as though it's a known fact. At this point, this is little more than rumor, and we all know how those work.

  2. I can show you a black hole, up close and personal, anytime you want. I have one out in the garage. My race car can suck up and spaghettify dollar bills at an unheard of pace… 🙂

  3. Okay, serious question: while the suspected object causing the unusual beyond oort cloud orbits could be a distant planet, star, or even black hole why are we assuming the object co-orbits the sun at all?
    With the insanely long period of the object isn't it more probable that we just had a relatively close pass by by a wandering planet or star at a certain point in the past that just kept going and didn't orbit the sun at all?
    I mean so far it seems like we'd only need one protrusion by a massive object to cause this pattern rather than a regularly orbiting one, what's the data that suggests a companion object rather than a passing one?

  4. Makes a lot of sense actually, we'll have to collect more data that suggests the existence of a primordial black hole though

  5. i actually made a bet this with my friend before this paper was published and then when it was and i found out about it i was like hey they stole my idea that i told one person about

  6. Zero evidence of primordial black holes. Zero evidence of gamma ray releasing interactions of dark matter. No wonder the paper ain't peer reviewed. The authors should be laughed outta publication.

  7. umm, wouldn't a black hole that size radiate its mass away via Hawking Radiation in a relatively short time? I'm thinking this paper will not pass peer review.

  8. Only cun i can watch for mins on end without clicking off😂😂
    – voice isn't annoying asf
    – no bs music playing in the background
    – All round if not educated highly knowledge mafuka

  9. Wouldn't a tiny black hole simply dissolve into nothing? Unless it's feeding on our asteroid belt, there's really no suggestion that it would be a black hole.

    I could swear I blocked this channel the last time they out out fearmongering bs… but I guess I'll do it again and clear my history…

    I always hate clearing my history, same old videos and suggestions… sigh… why isn't there a better option?

  10. Why is this all of a sudden some kind of revolutionary idea for people?…

    I mean if you want to throw away all the ancient lore of things like the Great Teamat and the oldest of cave painting's that clearly portray Saturn in our sky that's bad enough as it is… But just a few years back something effected multiple object's in our Soler System at once including but not limited to tilting our sun…

    Just a quick question for you all but what do we actually know about besides a Black Whole that can bench press a bloody star system?…

  11. Wouldn't a black hole that small have evaporated long ago due to Hawking radiation? Assuming that Stephen Hawking was correct

  12. Do you remember the times when researchers didn’t simply attempt to make assumptions about space stuff and explain everything with black holes? Are they even giving their research any effort? The black hole hype has to stop.

  13. First there was pluto, then pluto was declassified so no ninth planet, now its theorized it's a black hole
    What's next, the ninth planet is found out to be…

    Earth 2

  14. cool n all but new idea?? i heard this theroy of a primordial black hole rather than planet 9 literally 20 years ago in high school…..

  15. The paper (link in description) actually provides an exact scale illustration of the black hole! It's a little smaller than my fist 😀

  16. I ain't gon lie, I don't care if the information is wrong or not, if Hank Green is hosting and discussing it, I'll sit and listen.

    Hank Green is possibly the best Science YouTuber of all time!!!

  17. I have been watching your videos with great excitement, I love them, I am very interested in your research regarding "Planet 9"
    I wrote a science fiction novel called "TAU 6 AND THE INVASION"(You can google it), where I propose the existence of a Black Hole in the Solar System.
    How lucky I am
    This is the review I got from Stan Gibilisco, one of the most prolific educational science writers I know about.
    By Stan Gibilisco
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A Unique Tale of Space, Time, and Intrigue
    July 15, 2012
    Format: Paperback
    The story involves the disappearance of an exploratory spacecraft, and a plot by Earthbound warmongers to cover up its true nature so that the nations of the world, having lived in peace, will arm themselves against an extraterrestrial enemy that may not even exist. Set in the near future, this story weaves relativity theory, principles of space travel, and indomitable characters into a unique plot that ends in an unexpected way.
    You can contact me at [email protected]

  18. Could you imagine what it would be like if a rogue blackhole started taking apart our sun. Dimming and brightening with dramatic temperature fluctuations then suddenly the sky began to shift and the suns position went from south to north as the moon got smaller and smaller. The night sky around the world except for a ring of glowing gas around the dark region that was pulling us in faster and faster as the gravitational force on Earth became erratic along with major natural disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes on a scale unimaginable. Then every fault line split and lava spewed out. Shooting straight into the stratosphere. Huge fountains of molten rock rained down causing widespread fires. And then…finish the story how it all ends.

  19. great more reason to get anxiety over earths fragile orbit and possibly being flung into freezing space forever and ever

  20. The description of the star going around the black hole (ASASSN–19bt) makes me think of the Hanna-Barbera swirling star logo following the end of the cartoon credits.

  21. Try 'brown dwarf', instead of something exotic – like, black holes. 😉
    The majority of all star systems are binary pairs.

  22. Wrong! There is no black hole anywhere near our solar system to cause the irregularities in the orbits of the Kuiper belt objects.

  23. I live in india and here people have thousands of different gods but i believe in science and so many people are offended by that😁😁😁i dnt know why

  24. please do not speak such utter drivel……even a tiny black hole would destroy us and everything else in this solar system……………you are not educating us, you are merely shamelessly verbally masturbating……stand back be quiet and listen rather than speaking, this is not an answer that you speak.

  25. Hey what ever it is that may be here in our solar system, will it affect our planet in any way when it comes back around? Also I assume we have some idea how much longer that may be?

  26. Is fifteen hundred comments a little? Is there a point to my comment? Anyways… I've heard about this FOREVER! I think it's AWESOME we're talking about it honestly. Like legitimately talking about it! AT LEAST (!!!) on sci show… Which I think is pretty legit. Anyways… It's crazy how abstract this kinda is. I love it! And that's why MOST comments are kinda useless.

  27. Where do I start first of all why are you so excited do you like being ripped to shreds second yeah it's a good theory hopefully no one believes it 3rd..
    …… But I do like how you explained that was probably not true yeah

  28. Wouldnt a black hole that small already have evaporated from Hawking Radiation?? Someone smarter than me please answer…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *