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The research team suspects that Earth-like planets exist at the edge of our solar system

The research team suspects that Earth-like planets exist at the edge of our solar system

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A Japanese research team said that an Earth-like planet could exist outside the orbit of Neptune in the solar system. (Avatar) © IMAGO/Science Photo Library

How many planets are there in our solar system? A research team believes there is a ninth planet, but it has not yet been discovered.

TOKYO/OSAKA – Since Pluto was stripped of its planet status in August 2006, there have been only eight official planets in our solar system. But astronomers have doubted for many years the possibility of a ninth planet far away in the solar system. Searches for the so-called “Planet 9” have been continuing for several years, but so far the supposed planet has not been discovered. Now a research team from Japan has once again shed light on the existence of a ninth planet in the solar system.

Researchers time and again come up with the idea that there could be an undiscovered planet in the solar system, because this would better explain the strange behavior of some celestial bodies at the edge of the solar system. The research team from Japan also chose this approach. Patrick Sophia Likaoka (Kindai University, Osaka) and Takashi Ito (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Tokyo) looked at the orbits of some trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) that orbit the Sun beyond the orbit of the planet Neptune.

Trans-Neptunian objects and Kuiper Belt objects

Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNO) They are celestial bodies that orbit the Sun outside the orbit of Neptune. The most prominent representative is the dwarf planet Pluto, and dwarf planets such as Makemake and Cowar are also included. Many TNOs are located in the so-called Kuiper beltIt is a specific region in the solar system outside the orbit of Neptune that is home to countless objects called Kuiper Belt Objects (KBO).

Is there an Earth-like planet at the edge of the solar system?

“The orbits of trans-Neptunian objects may indicate the presence of an undiscovered planet in the outer solar system,” Lecaoka and Ito write in a study that In the specialized magazine Astronomical magazine published had become. The researchers continue: “We expect the presence of an Earth-like planet and several TNO objects in strange orbits in the outer solar system, which could serve as noticeable signs of disturbances of the putative planet.”

The study continues that the orbits of trans-Neptunian objects could reveal the presence of a previously unknown planet in the outer solar system. “These rocky and icy bodies are remnants of planetary formation in the outer solar system,” Lecaoka and Ito said. The researchers call their hypothetical planet a “Kuiper Belt Planet” (KBP), clearly distinguishing it from the already proposed “Planet 9.” Accordingly, the newly proposed planet is slightly larger than Earth and therefore Earth-like, while “Planet 9” is said to have a mass of ten times that of Earth.

Mass: 10 times the mass of Earth Size: 1.5 to 3 times larger than Earth
Distance: 90 billion kilometers Distance: 37-46 billion kilometers
Location: Outside the Kuiper Belt Location: Within the Kuiper Belt

As its name suggests, the “Kuiper Belt Planet” is said to be located in the Kuiper Belt at a distance of 37 to 46 billion kilometers from the Sun. According to calculations, the theoretical “Planet 9” should orbit in a much more distant orbit, far from the Kuiper Belt.

So far, the hypothetical Planet Nine has not been discovered yet

“It is plausible that a primitive planetary body could survive in the distant Kuiper Belt, as many such objects existed in the early solar system,” the researchers wrote in their study. But so far no one has been able to discover the new hypothetical planet. Just like the proposed “Planet Nine,” the “Kuiper Belt planet” is either hiding very well in the distant, dark regions of the solar system — or it may not exist at all. In any case, the search for both hypothetical planets must continue. (unpaid bill)