Scientists at the California Institute of Technology have recently discovered a ninth planet, which they named Planet Nine, lurking in the solar system's Kupier Belt and is said to be 10 times Earth's size, reported Telegraph on Thursday.
As the researchers were studying the region of icy celestial bodies, they noticed 13 objects moving together as if they were tied around the gravity of an enormous body. To discover what has been causing this effect, they ran computer simulations and arrived at the conclusion that only a massive planet could make these objects behave in that strange manner.
"We saw a strange signal in the data that meant something odd was going on in the outer solar system," said Dr. Mike Brown, who discovered the evidence for the potential new planet along with Dr. Konstantin Batygin. "All of these distant objects were lined up in a weird way and that shouldn't happen. We worked through the mundane explanations, but none of them worked out."
However, the scientists have not yet surveyed the planet directly, but believe it was tossed far away into deep space with Jupiter and Saturn's gravitational force, noted Washington Post on Wednesday.
"If it exists, it should be detectable," said Astronomer Royal Professor Sir Martin Rees. "So we must wait until searches with big telescopes have been carried out."
"These are indirect arguments, but they should motivate a more intensive search for an inferred far-away planet," he added.
Planet Nine, having the potential to be the fifth-largest planet, may have been moving undetected in space due to its extreme distance from Earth that it catches very minimal sunlight, but a number of powerful telescopes have reportedly began their search for the elusive planet.
"My daughter, she's still kind of mad about Pluto being demoted, even though she was barely born at that time," tweeted Brown, who also wrote a book titled "How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming." "She suggested a few years ago that she'd forgive me if I found a new planet. So I guess I've been working on this for her."