The solar system is officially made up of eight planets. There may be more things of this kind, which scientists have been discussing for a long time. The topic of Planet X orbiting around the fringes of the Solar System is nothing new. The latest computer simulations, reported in the Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, suggest that a Mars-sized object must exist outside of Neptune’s orbit.
Astronomers classify all known planets into three types: inner planets (rocky planets like Earth), which are separated from the outer planets by the asteroid belt (there are gas giants). There is also a third group of planets, far from Neptune’s orbit. We are talking about dwarf planets such as Pluto, Sedna or Eris. According to researchers at the University of British Columbia, this approach is wrong.
‘It seems unlikely that nature created four giant planet cores, but then no larger than the dwarf planets in the outer solar system,’ wrote Catherine Falk of the University of Arizona and Brett Gladman of the University of British Columbia, authors of the study.
To fully understand how the solar system came to be, scientists are running computer simulations to see how putative initial conditions could evolve into a planetary system like ours. According to Falk and Gladman, the outer solar system included one or more rocky planets roughly the size of Earth or Mars. Over time, the interaction of these planets with gas giants pushed them into a distant orbit, far from all cosmic living things.
Our simulations showed that in about half of the cases of simulated planetary systems like ours, all of the Mars-sized planets in the outer system were ejected into interstellar space. In the remaining half, a lone planet remained in an orbit similar to an isolated community of Kuiper belt objects, said Scott Tremaine, one of the study participants.
If this planet actually exists in the solar system, it is a different object than the hypothetical Planet X, which should be a large object. This could mean that there are more planets in the solar system than we think. Will we ever find them?
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