There are many dwarf planets on the edge of our solar system. But Japanese researchers claim to have made another discovery there.
A previously unknown Earth-like planet may be hiding at the edge of our solar system. A group of researchers published corresponding observations behind the planet Neptune – the planet farthest from the Sun – in the “Astronomical Journal”.
Scientists have looked at objects in the Kuiper Belt, a group of dwarf planets like Pluto and Eris. It is also said that there are many comets and so-called trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) that have not been investigated much. One of them, called Sedna, is made largely of ice and is red in colour. It was discovered in 2003 and was already a planet candidate.
According to researchers, only the new planet explains the anomalies
But now researchers led by astronomer Patrick Sofia Likawka have made a new observation. Its orbit, like the orbit of other celestial bodies in its vicinity, can only be explained by the presence of an Earth-sized planet.
The basis for this is provided by computer simulations of various gravitational forces in the solar system. An Earth-like planet – which so far only exists as a theory – would explain the observed anomalies, according to the researchers in their paper. It will be three times larger than Earth, and about 500 times farther from the Sun than Earth.
“We expect an Earth-like planet and several TNOs in special orbits in the outer solar system,” wrote authors Patrick Sofia Likuka of Kindai University in Japan and Takashi Ito of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. “The results of the Kuiper Belt planet scenario support the existence of an as-yet-undiscovered planet in the outer solar system [und] “It also predicts new discoveries of TNO.”
If the prediction comes true, there will be only a ninth planet in our solar system. Scientists say the definition of what a planet actually is also needs to be reconsidered. But no one has seen the alleged planet yet. The Japanese are now calling on the scientific community to test their theory. If TNOs were found at a distance of 150 longitudes between the Sun and Earth, that would be confirmation.
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