Our Solar System Could be Hiding an Extra Planet the Size of Uranus

Earlier, there were nine planets in our solar system but after removing Pluto from the list of planets, now there are eight planets.

However, a team of scientists is proposing in a pre-print research that the Sun has "trapped" another planet that may be hidden far away in the "Oort Cloud", the research hasn't yet been peer-reviewed. 

According to space pioneer NASA, the Oort Cloud is the farthest part of the Solar System. It's believed to be populated by billions or trillions of icy bodies that can be the size of mountains or even larger. 

It is believed to be many times more distant than the Kuiper Belt which already extends to about 50 astronomical units (An astronomical unit is the distance between the Sun and the Earth).

In a new pre-print paper, an international team of scientists finds the possibility that our solar system may have a planet lurking in its edge. But how does that work?

According to the science journal New Scientist, multiple-planet systems like ours may undergo a period of "dynamical instability". During this period, the planets can interact with each other due to gravity and swing past each other.

It's believed that such an event could result in the entire planet being ejected from the star system.

The researchers of this study performed simulations of many such instabilities, using the system's gravity as parameters, and found that 1 to 10 percent of the planets "thrown away" can be still a part of the Solar System. There may be parts, which may be far away on its edges.

According to Space.com, the team of scientists also believes that there is a chance that such a "rogue" planet from another star system would have been "trapped" by our solar system's gravity, after which it made its home in the furthest Oort Cloud.

They estimate a seven per cent chance that could be true.

They estimate that “one in every 200-3000 stars could host an Oort cloud planet.” But they told The Independent that this could be an overestimate since it does not take into account instabilities that take place at the early stages of a solar system.