6
$\begingroup$

Let's assume hypothetically that Earth has a twin planet on the opposite side of Earth's orbit. Its orbital period would be exactly the same as Earth's and it would always be behind the Sun so directly observing it from Earth would not be possible.

How would we detect the planet's existence short of sending out a spacecraft that could look "behind" the sun and observe it visually? Have we confirmed that there is no such planet?

$\endgroup$
11
$\begingroup$

According to the Wikipedia article Counter-Earth, this idea has been floated around for millennia. However, modern day earth-bound techniques would easily detect a 'Counter-Earth' via the following (but not limited to) these methods:

  • Gravitational perturbations would have been observed to have occurred on the other planets (terrestrial)

  • As Earth's orbit is not circular, it is elliptical, it would not be consistently 180 degrees around the orbit, as below

enter image description here

(Image source)

  • Most of all, it would have been detected/observed by the satellites we have around the Earth, Sun and other planets (many examples here).
$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

One of the STEREO satellites has been at the earth-sun L4 point, so we have "looked behind the sun", and verified that there is no counter-earth there. That was not the purpose of their mission though.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

It would be detectable due to its gravity effect on other planets, comets and the Sun. Check these sites for further info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-Earth#Scientific_analysis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagrangian_point#L3

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.