NOV 09, 2020 7:30 AM PST

Icy Planet Between Saturn and Uranus Expelled from Solar System

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

In mapping the original locations of Saturn and Jupiter in our Solar System, astronomers have found that there was once another planet that existed between them. 

"We now know that there are thousands of planetary systems in our Milky Way galaxy alone. But it turns out that the arrangement of planets in our own Solar System is highly unusual, so we are using models to reverse engineer and replicate its formative processes," says Matt Clement, lead author of the research. 

"This is a bit like trying to figure out what happened in a car crash after the fact — how fast were the cars going, in what directions, and so on."

Previously, astronomers had thought that in its early days, Jupiter completed three full orbits around the sun for every two undertaken by Saturn. The present research, however, found that this may not be the case. 

From around 6,000 simulations of our Solar System's evolution, the researchers found that Jupiter's starting arrangement, as previously stated, was unable to account for the planet's position today. As such, they instead found that Jupiter more likely completed two trips around the sun for each made by Saturn. 

They also found that the orbits of 'ice giants' Uranus and Neptune were likely influenced by the gravitational pull of the Kuiper belt- a ring of icy dwarf planets and planetoids, in which Pluto is the largest. Also affecting their orbit, however, was what is likely to have been another planet- an ice giant lurking between Saturn and Uranus that has since been expelled from our Solar System. 

All in all, the researchers say that their findings show that our Solar System may have had more normal developmental origins than once thought. They also say that they can now use the present model of our Solar System's evolution to look for similar systems elsewhere with the potential to host life. 

 

Sources: Science DailyIcarus

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
SEP 20, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Potential Signs of Life Spotted in the Clouds of Venus
SEP 20, 2020
Potential Signs of Life Spotted in the Clouds of Venus
Scientists were stunned to discover possible signs of life in the atmosphere of Venus. Their initial findings were confi ...
OCT 03, 2020
Space & Astronomy
NASA Launches $23m Toilet to Space Station
OCT 03, 2020
NASA Launches $23m Toilet to Space Station
On late October 2nd, NASA launched a spacecraft carrying 4 tonnes of cargo, including scientific equipment, food hardwar ...
OCT 09, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Why the Sun's Atmosphere is Hotter than its Surface
OCT 09, 2020
Why the Sun's Atmosphere is Hotter than its Surface
Researchers have found evidence of nanojets (bright, thin lights) in the solar atmosphere, also known as the corona. The ...
NOV 06, 2020
Space & Astronomy
300 Million Planets in the Milky Way May Be Habitable
NOV 06, 2020
300 Million Planets in the Milky Way May Be Habitable
Researchers have found that there could be at least 300 million habitable worlds in the Milky Way galaxy. This could mea ...
NOV 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Detect Origin of Fast Radio Burst in Milky Way
NOV 07, 2020
Scientists Detect Origin of Fast Radio Burst in Milky Way
Scientists have identified a burst of cosmic radio waves- intense flashes of radio emission that last just a few millise ...
NOV 14, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Bacteria Make Space Mining 400% More Effective
NOV 14, 2020
Bacteria Make Space Mining 400% More Effective
Researchers aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have shown that bacteria can increase space mining efficiency b ...
Loading Comments...