According to an article published in the Astronomical Journal, a second planet similar to Earth could exist in the outer solar system.
Its existence could revolutionize theories about the formation of the solar system. According to a number of researchers, authors of the scientific article Published in the Astronomical JournalThe existence of a ninth planet, similar in size to Earth, in the outer solar system is strongly suggested.
The space scientists’ article focuses on the Kuiper Belt, a disc-shaped region located outside the orbit of Neptune in the outer solar system, in which there are some dwarf planets, the most famous of which is Pluto.
Trans-Neptunian objects are essential for discovery
According to these researchers, this region contains many so-called trans-Neptunian objects, one of which was discovered by astronomer Michael Brown in 2003: Sedna, a red spherical object that rotates on its axis in about forty Earth days.
Sedna has long been considered a potential planet and would, according to the researchers behind the article, be evidence of the existence of a planet with a size similar to that of Earth.
The article develops this theory by showing that Sedna’s orbit, as well as the orbit of other post-Neptunian objects – some of which lie outside Neptune’s gravitational influence – would be related to the possible presence of Neptune. Land size.
Existence to be confirmed in the future
According to several simulations conducted by the research team and referred to in the article, the potential planet would be between 1.5 to 3 times larger than Earth, and would be located between 250 and 500 Earth-sun distances from the Sun. As a reminder, the distance between the Earth and the Sun is on average 149 million kilometers.
“We expect an Earth-like planet and several trans-Neptunian objects in special orbits in the outer solar system,” wrote Patrick Sofia Likoka and Takashi Ito of Kindai University and the Japanese Astronomical Observatory. They also added, “The results of the Kuiper Belt planet scenario confirm the existence of a previously undiscovered planet in the outer solar system, and also predict the existence of new populations of trans-Neptunian objects.”
According to Patrick Sofia Likawka, “The discovery of one or a few new trans-Neptunian objects could revolutionize our theories about the formation of the solar system.” But this would also have the effect of reclassifying the planets, as was the case with Pluto’s downgrade to a dwarf planet in 2006.
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