Are there any new planets in our solar system? Scientists may have discovered

This is an artist's concept of the Kuiper Belt object 2003 UB313 (nicknamed Xena) and its companion Gabriel.  - NASA
This is an artist's concept of the Kuiper Belt object 2003 UB313 (nicknamed “Xena”) and its companion “Gabrielle”. – NASA

In a new study, astronomers have theorized that there may be an Earth-sized planet living several billion miles behind Neptune, which they have dubbed “Planet Nine.”

Researchers Patrick Sophia Likawka and Takashi Ito, from Kindai University in Japan and the country's National Astronomical Observatory, studied the Kuiper Belt – named after the Dutch-American astronomer Gerard Kuiper, who proposed its existence in 1951.

The Kuiper Belt is a doughnut-shaped ring of icy objects left over from the formation of the solar planets billions of years ago. Scientists could not reach it because of the remote distance.

The study was published in St Astronomical Journal indicating another significant object in the Kuiper Belt that has “special” properties, such as gravitational influence on other objects, indicating its planetary status.

This artist concept from NASA's Solar System Survey shows objects in the Kuiper Belt.  — Southwest Research Institute/NASA
This artist concept from NASA's Solar System Survey shows objects in the Kuiper Belt. — Southwest Research Institute/NASA

The scientists wrote in their report: “We predict the existence of an Earth-like planet. It is likely that a primordial planetary body could survive in the distant Kuiper belt as a Kuiper belt planet, since many such bodies existed in the early solar system. “

Previous researchers have also indicated that an Earth-like planet lurks at the end of our solar system, however, scientists this time say that there is a more massive body than previously expected, at a much smaller distance from our planet.

If this proves true, then this new planet would be about 1.5 to 3 times the mass of Earth, and 500 times the distance between our home and the Sun.

In July, scientists predicted that planets the size of Jupiter and Uranus may be lurking at the edge of our solar system.

Scientists suggest that the planet may be much more distant than the planets of Planet X, which live beyond Neptune.

The researchers said such a planet could be in the Oort cloud, a shell that astronomers theorize represents the gravitational boundary of the Sun and its associated satellites.

According to experts, there may be more interstellar objects at this edge of the solar system than previously thought.

With the help of complex computer simulations, scientists have estimated how solar systems tend to throw off large planets, and how a planetary system might hold one such planet.

The astronomers said: “This is more likely to happen when such a planet approaches the Oort cloud at the outer edge of the star system.”

The researchers estimated that “one in every 200-3,000 stars could host an Oort cloud planet.”

“If the dynamical instability of the Solar System occurred after the collapse of the birth clusters, there is about a 7% chance that the ice giant was trapped in the solar Oort cloud,” the scientists wrote in the study.

In a 2020 study, experts hypothesized a ninth planet that was much more centrally located in our system before Jupiter forced it.

Most people think of Pluto as the ninth planet, although it was named a dwarf planet in 2006 when scientists began to realize how many planetary bodies like it exist – similar to other TNOs.