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Our Sun May Have Stolen Planet Nine From Passing Star

9 April 2016, 9:02 am EDT By Angela Laguipo Tech Times
Planet Nine, discovered in January 2016, is located farther than Pluto. The new planet could have been stolen by the sun from a nearby star that was passing by.  ( Kevin Gill | Flickr )

Planet Nine, as its name suggests, is the ninth planet of the solar system discovered earlier this year by the same scientist who demoted Pluto to a dwarf planet. A new study said, however, that Planet Nine is actually an imposter that lurked near the solar system and got stolen from its host star.

In January, Konstantin Batygin and Michael Brown found a never before seen planet around 10 times the mass of Earth lurking at the edge of the solar system. Some scientists hypothesized that the planet could have originated within the solar system and migrated toward its edges.

A team of astronomers now suggests the opposite - the planet may have been stolen by the sun from a nearby star.

A new study, published in the open journal Arvix, and led by Alexander Mustill from the Lund Observatory, proposes that the Planet Nine might actually be an exoplanet outside the solar system and orbiting its own host star.

Slim Chance, But It's Possible

The chances of this happens in 0.1 to 2 percent, which is very low, but the team believes this is possible. The probability

"Although these probabilities seem low, you have to compare them to each other, and not absolutely," said Mustill. "Because ultimately any very specific outcome is very unlikely," he added.

Sun Stole The Planet From A Passing Star

One of the biggest mysteries in the solar system is probably the presence of a distant planet travelling around the sun in a 20,000-year orbit. This planet is found far beyond Pluto.

It has been previously suggested that the sun could have captured objects from other stars while they are passing nearby, including planets and even comets.

Though its presence is deemed mysterious, it could have been forcibly ejected from its own orbit or formed on its own in its location today, considering the complexities of cosmic bodies in the universe.

"I think it's premature to say what's most likely," said Scott Kenyon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

This discovery will spur new questions about Planet Nine, where it really came from and how it might affect Earth in the future.

Photo: Kevin Gill | Flickr

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