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Space & Astronomy

Is there an alien planet hiding at the edge of our solar system ?

By T.K. Randall
June 30, 2023 · Comment icon 6 comments
An extrasolar planet orbiting a distant star.
Is there an undiscovered planet in the Oort cloud ? Image Credit: NASA / Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)
Astronomers believe that there is a small chance that a rogue planet could have been 'captured' by the Sun's gravity.
A few years ago, the possibility that there was an undiscovered planet in our solar system - the so-called 'Planet X' or 'Planet Nine' - prompted a great deal or intrigue, debate and speculation.

Some astronomers spent years attempting to find direct evidence of this mysterious world, but to date nothing conclusive has ever been found and the idea is now considered to be mostly discredited.

But that doesn't mean that there's no undiscovered planet out there, however.
Researchers now believe that there is around a 7% chance that a rogue planet from a distant part of the galaxy (one that was traveling through interstellar space untethered to any star) could have been captured by the Sun's gravity and could now be situated somewhere in the Oort cloud - a huge array of icy objects situated hundreds of billions of miles away from the Earth.

If this is true then it would be very difficult for us to actually know about it considering the immense size of this region of space and the lack of any obvious gravitational effects on the other planets.

In fact we really don't know much at all about what's out there - the Oort cloud could be home to all manner of undiscovered planetary bodies, just waiting to be found.

Given how far away this region of space actually is, however, it is going to take some radical new technology for us to ever get the opportunity to explore it properly.

Source: Live Science | Comments (6)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Coyote Speaks 8 months ago
How long before the Nibiru crowd latches on to this again?
Comment icon #2 Posted by Unadan 8 months ago
Quick answer - no.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 8 months ago
Based on what evidence?
Comment icon #4 Posted by AlphaGeek 8 months ago
@Waspie Here is the claims from NASA: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/hypothetical-planet-x/in-depth/
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 8 months ago
@AlphaGeek I'm aware of the arguments both for and against the existence of Planet X. My comment was aimed specifically at Unadan's comment explicitly stating that the planet does not exist. Such a comment is extremely unscientific. In science it is very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to prove the non-existence of something. The best that can be achieved is to say that the data does not support the existence of said object. As Carl Sagan said, "Absence of Evidence does not mean Evidence of Absence". In the case of planet X we are not even at the stage of saying that the data does not sup... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by AlphaGeek 8 months ago
My bad Waspie.

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