Gomes believes the body to be a Neptune-size world – four times the size of the Earth – orbiting about 1,500 times further from the sun at around 140 billion miles away.
A potential unseen planet, within our own solar system, seems to be disturbing the orbits of so-called Kuiper belt objects far beyond Neptune, among those kuiper belt icy bodies but too far out to be easily spotted by telescopes.
Astronomer Rodney Gomes, of the Brazilian National Observatory commented that dwarf planet Pluto is one of the largest Kuiper belt objects – some 1,400 miles wide – though many other objects there are hundreds of miles across, each year bringing new finds.
According to his latest calculations, several Kuiper belt objects, including remote body Sedna, have strange orbits based on existing solar system models, for which a few possible explanations exist. Gomes believes that the most plausible one is a planet orbiting very far out from the sun – but massive enough to gravitationally affect Kuiper belt objects near to it.
He analyzed 92 Kuiper belt objects orbits, then comparing results to projected computer model predictions of how the bodies would behave both with and without an additional planet included – If no hidden body existed, he concluded, the highly elongated orbits seen for six of the objects could not be physically possible.
Gomes believes the body to be a Neptune-size world – four times the size of the Earth – orbiting about 1,500 times further from the sun at around 140 billion miles away – speculating that the mystery object could be a rogue planet kicked from another star system and captured by the gravity of our sun.
Actually finding this hidden world presents a real challenge, as the planet might be pretty dim, and no clue exists as to location, so other astronomers might be intrigued, but will need a lot more proof before being willing to agree to yet another solar system planet.