Japanese Astrophysicists Propose Exciting Possibility Close to Home.
A groundbreaking discovery might be on the horizon: astrophysicists from Japan hint at the potential existence of an Earth-like planet nestled within the Kuiper Belt.
The quest to find a mysterious “Planet Nine” at the outer fringes of our solar system has captivated scientists for years. Yet, astrophysicists Patryk Sofia Lykawka and Takashi Ito propose an even more intriguing theory. Their research indicates that this elusive planet might be closer than previously thought, right within the Kuiper Belt.
Situated just beyond Neptune’s orbit, the Kuiper Belt is a vast semi-circular disk filled with cosmic entities, all orbiting our sun. Encompassing asteroids, space rocks, and icy comets, the Kuiper Belt serves as a celestial reservoir. Interestingly, the duo’s observations suggest that the belt might also be home to a planet with a distance of roughly 500 AU (astronomical units) from the sun. To put it in perspective, Neptune sits about 30 AU away.
Diving Deeper into Trans-Neptunian Objects
Lykawka and Ito focused on studying trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs). Their analysis revealed peculiar orbits among some TNOs, hinting at the gravitational influence of a more massive entity. The presence of a significant number of high-inclination objects further fueled their curiosity.
Aiming to decode their observations, the researchers conducted various computer simulations. The results strongly suggest the presence of a Kuiper Belt planet. The potential planet, if confirmed, could have a mass ranging between 1.5 and 3 times that of Earth. Moreover, its inclination would be around 30 degrees, with an orbital range spanning from 250 to 500 AU from the sun.
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