Jun 29, 2017 11:57 AM EDT
Astronomers from the University of Arizona said that they have spotted a new mysterious planet. The planet, which is around the same size of Mars, is found at the edge of our solar system.
The mysterious Mars-sized planet is found in the Kuiper belt, the group of icy objects found beyond Pluto's orbit. Kat Volk and Renu Malhotra, the astronomers from the University of Arizona, said that this is not the Planet 9 that Caltech scientists found a year ago. Like the mysterious planetary object, Planet 9 was found lurking at the edge of Earth's solar system.
If the scientists were right with their hunches, the mysterious body could very well become Planet 10. It would also make the total planet count in our solar system to 10.
Why a hunch?
That's because the scientists haven't seen their planet yet but they can sense its presence. They said that they have noticed an odd distortion in the orbit of objects found at the external part of the Kuiper belt. These distortions are between 50 and 80 astronomical units or about 92 miles away from the sun.
There is an argument, however, that the orbit of these objects found in the Kuiper belt have uneven angles so it's not surprising that this mysterious Mars-like object is one of them.
However, Malhotra and Volk analyzed the orbits of these objects to find an average plane and found that their mysterious planet was offset by 8 degrees. If there is indeed a Mars-sized planet in the Kuiper belt, it will drag the other objects out of the invariable plane that the other planets inhabit.
However, there are skeptics about this theory saying that if the mysterious object is indeed existing, it won't be hard to miss because of its size. Whether the mysterious Mars-sized planet exists or not remains to be seen.
The study is published in the Astronomical Journal.
© 2017 University Herald, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.