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An unknown planet in our solar system?  He might get caught on the edge

An unknown planet in our solar system? He might get caught on the edge

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from: Christophe Jossmann

Researchers believe that there may be a previously unknown planet in our solar system. But the chances of this happening are not very high.

MUNICH – Are there more planets in our solar system that we don’t know about yet? According to researchers, there could be large planets at the periphery of our solar system – the size of Jupiter or Uranus. They can get stuck there. The distance to the Sun could still be much greater than that of the previously hypothetical single planet (which would then be the ninth planet that Pluto used to be). Such a planet from outside the solar system could be trapped in the Oort cloud – a theoretical envelope of debris that marks the gravitational edge of the sun and its planets.

For example, researchers from the CNRS in France, in collaboration with colleagues from the USA, have shown that there could be more interstellar objects at this edge of the solar system than previously thought. Using complex computer simulations, the scientists wanted to explore how solar systems tend to eject large planets and also how another solar system might capture such an “orphan” planet.

How many previously unknown planets are there in our solar system? © IMAGO / Zoonar.com / Cigdem Simsek

“Every 200 to 3,000. A star can host a planet in the Oort Cloud.”

While an ejected planet needs a kinetic energy barrier to escape its star’s gravity, it also needs a large amount of energy before another star system can capture it. Simulations suggest that a small fraction of such encounters could result in a star’s gravitational field capturing an “orphan” planet and claiming it as its own.

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This is more likely if such a planet drifts near the Oort Cloud at the outer edge of the star system. Since up to a tenth of the star’s parent planets are likely to be ejected into space, the researchers say there is a 7% chance that our solar system will capture an icy planet like Uranus in the Oort Cloud. So “every 200 to 3,000 stars host a planet in the Oort Cloud.” However, this estimate is likely too high due to instability in the early stages of the solar system.

The planets in the Oort Cloud most likely come from interstellar space

Written by a team of international scholars led by Sean N. Raymond, Andre Isidoro, and Nathan A. Cape in it Stady. Based on the analysis, they say the Oort Cloud planets at the edge of the solar system most likely come from interstellar space – and are therefore not descendants of our sun.

The European Space Agency’s Cheops probe is examining the exoplanet LTT9779 b in more detail. She made many amazing discoveries. (cgsc)