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
  • Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
MAY 24, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Plasma jets observed interacting with magnetic fields in far-off galaxy cluster
MAY 24, 2021
Plasma jets observed interacting with magnetic fields in far-off galaxy cluster
New observations from radio telescopes and supercomputer simulations show plasma jets interacting with magnetic fields i ...
JUN 12, 2021
Cancer
Using astronomy to image cancer tumors
JUN 12, 2021
Using astronomy to image cancer tumors
In an interdisciplinary breakthrough, a recent study published in Science describes the development of a new platform, d ...
JUN 22, 2021
Space & Astronomy
An Unusual Galaxy Without Dark Matter
JUN 22, 2021
An Unusual Galaxy Without Dark Matter
Even though we still cannot detect dark matter, many researchers are confident that exists. It seems to act as a kind of ...
JUN 24, 2021
Space & Astronomy
European Space Agency to Launch Satellite Made from Plywood
JUN 24, 2021
European Space Agency to Launch Satellite Made from Plywood
Modern spacecraft are typically made out of carbon fiber composites. Now, however, the European Space Agency has announc ...
AUG 27, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Researchers Model the Titan Moon in a Tube
AUG 27, 2021
Researchers Model the Titan Moon in a Tube
An image of Saturn's moon Titan on November 11, 1980 during Voyager 1's flyby. Courtesy NASA/JPL-CalTech/Kevin M. Gill
NOV 03, 2021
Space & Astronomy
First Planet Discovered Outside of Our Galaxy
NOV 03, 2021
First Planet Discovered Outside of Our Galaxy
Exoplanets are planets that exist outside of our solar system, and until recently, they have only been found within the ...
Loading Comments...