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Scientists suggest there might be a hidden planet in our solar system made of ice

It is said to be a spherical region of ice chunks and rocks that is tens of thousands of times farther from the Sun.

Scientists suggest there might be a hidden planet in our solar system made of ice
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Space X

The space is full of unresolved mysteries. Even after discovering many things, humans still have to find a lot to know more about our universe. Scientists keep trying to find new things that are still unknown. And in the latest discovery, the scientists might have found a hidden planet. There is a 7 percent chance that Earth has another neighbor hiding in the Oort cloud, as shared by astronomers. It is said to be a spherical region of ice chunks and rocks that is tens of thousands of times farther from the Sun, per Indy100

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Jeremy Muller
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Jeremy Muller

"In the silence and darkness between the stars, where our Sun appears as just a particularly bright star, a theorized group of icy objects collectively called the Oort Cloud coast along their orbits like lazy moths around a porch light," according to NASA's explanation of the Oort cloud. Also, they mentioned that the Oort cloud is the most distant region in the solar system, extending perhaps one-quarter to halfway from our Sun to the next star. Nathan Kaib, a co-author of the work and an astronomer at the Planetary Science Institute, said, "It's completely plausible for our solar system to have captured such an Oort cloud planet" and that these are "a class of planets that should exist but have received relatively little attention."

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay

He added that if a planet is in the Oort cloud it would mostly be an ice giant. Planets like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus or Neptune are born as twins. They have massive gravitational pulls but sometimes destabilize one another. According to astronomers, this phenomenon could have led to a planet being pushed out of the solar system completely or led it to its outer reaches, which is the Oort cloud. The paper regarding this planet was accepted to the journal "MNRAS Letters," according to Popular Science.

While talking about the planets, Sean Raymond, lead author and researcher at the University of Bordeaux's Astrophysics Laboratory, said, "The survivor planets have eccentric orbits, which are like the scars from their violent pasts." So, this planet could have an elongated orbit, unlike the Earth, which rotates around the Sun in a circle. Raymond further shared that the problem is that when the planets are that far away, it becomes difficult for astronomers to spot them. Malena Rice, an astronomer at MIT and not part of this project, said, "If a Neptune-sized planet existed in our own Oort cloud, there's a good chance that we wouldn't have found it yet. Amazingly, it can sometimes be easier to spot planets hundreds of light-years away than those right in our backyard."

Even though it is hard to detect a planet in Oort cloud, astronomers have been trying to do it for decades. Caltech astronomers Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin also have been in search of finding "Planet X" in the Kuiper Belt. Mike Brown told Live Science that it is "really difficult to explain the solar system without Planet Nine." "But there's no way to be 100% sure until you see it." They estimate that the planet is about seven times more massive than Earth and it is "most like Neptune." However, the planet that Raymond and his team are trying to find isn't the same as "Planet Nine." "The Oort cloud planets in our simulations would be much more distant than the proposed Planet Nine orbit - at least 10 times further away," said Kaib. "Our simulations cannot place planets on Planet-Nine-like orbits."

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