Did you know that a hundred light years from earth there is a massive “lonely” planet, one that is 4 to 7 times the size of Jupiter? And did you know that scientists now believe that Jupiter, smaller as it may have been, actually knocked this massive giant out of our solar system?
Researchers came to this conclusion after examining the moons of Saturn and Jupiter. They then realized that Saturn would have been unlikely to maintain all of its current moons had it had a close encounter with another gas giant, while Jupiter would have been able to hang onto its moons in their current trajectories.
No previous studies fully considered the moons in orbit around Saturn and Jupiter.
Scientists have known about this mysterious giant for some time, though most believe Saturn was what knocked it out of our solar system. Research at the University of Toronto, however, suggests that Jupiter might have been the bully on the block.
Interestingly enough, the research was conducted by a PhD student by the name of Ryan Cloutier. This discovery certainly marks a major breakthrough for someone still technically completing his studies.
Wondering how a planet can even get kicked out of the solar system? Astrophysicists believe that if two planets experience a close encounter with each other, one of the planets could be disrupted in their rotation around the sun.
If this did indeed happened, it’s possible that this mysterious 5th giant was set on an exit course from our solar system. Almost certainly, the planet, if it did exist, once rotated around the sun in the outer solar system.
At some point it must have had a run in with Jupiter, and the two tussled gravity wise, Jupiter won, and the other gas giant was sent packing.
One of the key reasons scientists suspect that Jupiter (or Saturn) kicked a planet out of the solar system is because in 2012 astronomers found a “rogue” planet wandering outside of our solar system. The planet is a true orphan also sometimes called “lonely” planets. It has no star to rotate around, and exists outside of the oort cloud that marks our solar system’s outer boundaries.
This rogue planet has been given a tongue twisting name, “CFBDSIR2149”, and is a “mere” 100 light years from Earth.