According to Fox News, new research shows evidence of a mysterious Planet 9, residing between Saturn and Uranus, which was ejected from the solar system billions of years ago. This ejected planet is now roaming the galaxy untethered to any star, which is called a “rogue planet”.
The paper, which was published in the scientific journal Icarus, theorized that an “ice giant” was ejected during the early years of the Solar System while the planets were still settling into their stable orbits which we see today.
“We now know that there are thousands of planetary systems in our Milky Way galaxy alone,” the study’s lead author and Science researcher for the Carnegie Institution, Matt Clement, said in a statement. “But it turns out that the arrangement of planets in our own solar system is highly unusual, so we are using models to reverse engineer and replicate its formative processes. This is a bit like trying to figure out what happened in a car crash after the fact – how fast were the cars going, in what directions, and so on.”
Clement and his co-authors conducted 6,000 simulations of our Solar System’s evolution, revealing an unexpected detail about Jupiter and Saturn’s original relationship. Early Jupiter was thought to orbit the Sun three times for every two orbits that Saturn completed. But this arrangement is not able to explain the orbits of the gas giants that we see today. The new models showed that a ratio of two Jovian orbits to one Saturnian orbit more consistently produced results that agree with the current state of our Solar System.
“This indicates that while our Solar System is a bit of an oddball, it wasn’t always the case,” explained Clement.“What’s more, now that we’ve established the effectiveness of this model, we can use it to help us look at the formation of the terrestrial planets, including our own, and to perhaps inform our ability to look for similar systems elsewhere that could have the potential to host life.”
Additionally, the models demonstrated that the positions of Uranus and Neptune, the two current ice giants of the solar system, had been altered by the mass of the Kuiper belt, as well as another ice giant that was kicked out in the Solar System’s infancy.
ARTICLE: JOSEPH MODICA
SCIENCE/HEALTH EDITOR: KYLE SMITH
IMAGE CREDITS: NASA