– Mysterious Planet 9 has been one of the biggest mysteries in astronomy. For years, astronomers have tried evidence of the elusive planet’s existence. Is it located outside our solar system? Did it ever exist, and if so where is it and what happened to it?
Now a group of astronomers from the Lund University in Sweden suggest that Planet 9 was actually stolen by our Sun about 4.5 billion years ago.
Through a computer-simulated study, astronomers have reached the conclusion that Planet 9 was captured by the young sun and has been a part of our solar system completely undetected ever since.
“It is almost ironic that while astronomers often find exoplanets hundreds of light years away in other solar systems, there’s probably one hiding in our own backyard,” says Alexander Mustill, astronomer at Lund University.
Stars are born in clusters and often pass by one another. It is during these encounters that a star can “steal” one or more planets in orbit around another star. This is probably what happened when our own sun captured Planet 9.
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“Planet 9 may very well have been ‘shoved’ by other planets, and when it ended up in an orbit that was too wide around its own star, our sun may have taken the opportunity to steal and capture Planet 9 from its original star. When the sun later departed from the stellar cluster in which it was born, Planet 9 was stuck in an orbit around the sun,” says Alexander Mustill.
“There is still no image of Planet 9, not even a point of light. We don’t know if it is made up of rock, ice, or gas. All we know is that its mass is probably around ten times the mass of earth.”
It requires a lot more research before it can be ascertained that Planet 9 is the first exoplanet in our solar system. If the theory is correct, Alexander Mustill believes that the study of space and the understanding of the sun and the Earth will take a giant leap forward.