According to a recently released report, a possible so-called “Planet Ten” may be lurking on the far edges of our Solar System, somewhere beyond Pluto. This potential new space body might be situated in the Kuiper Belt. Its mass could also be anywhere in between that of Mars and Earth.
The existence of this new planet emerged as a possible answer as scientists were looking for the still undetected “Planet Nine”. Research predicts the existence of a world that is about the size of Neptune. One that is also in orbit some 25 times farther from the Sun than Pluto.
According to this latest research, if Planet Nine is detected and proven to exist, so will Planet Ten. Research on the matter was conducted by scientists part of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) at the University of Arizona.
Planet Ten, a Tenth Space Body, One of Many Others?
The LPL scientists stated that they determined the possible existence of this new world by studying KBOs or Kuiper Belt Objects. Some of the most distant such formations were noted to have strange, more tilted orbits than expected.
Research results state that this tilt can most likely be explained by the presence of a more massive object in their surroundings. This would have a strong enough gravitational field so as to affect the KBOs orbits.
“The most likely explanation for our results is that there is some unseen mass. According to our calculations, something as massive as Mars would be needed to cause the warp that we measured,” stated Kat Volk, the study lead and an LPL postdoctoral fellow.
The possible Planet Ten would be significantly smaller than the elusive Planet Nine. It would also be closer to the sun when compared to this latter.
The research team is now hoping to use the LSST to take a closer look at the Kuiper Belt. LSST (the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope) is currently being constructed in Chile. Scientists part of this new study also point out that there could be many more KBOs left to spot. Possibly even a new planet.
Study results will be released in a paper in The Astronomical Journal.
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