Researchers and astronomers have found evidence of what they say could point to the existence of a 10th planet in our Solar System. The supposed planet is moving around in the solar system beyond the orbit of Pluto. Almost 11 years ago, Pluto was demoted from the planet status as a result of which the solar system is now down to just eight planets. However, this new discovery could shed light on a new planet, which was previously unknown.

10th planet discovered?

Researchers from the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory or LPL have indicated that an unknown planetary body with a size comparable to that of Mars is sitting beyond Pluto’s orbit in a region which is known as the Kuiper Belt.

The region is filled with thousands of dwarf planets, icy asteroids, and even comets.

A similar claim was put forward by another group of scientists in January 2016, who stated that a hidden planet was orbiting the sun and that it was around 25 times further from the sun than Pluto. This alleged planet was dubbed Planet 9. So, after the recent discovery by the LPL members, the new supposed planet has been named Planet 10.

Scientists studied the orbital tilts of the icy bodies that exist in the Kuiper belt. These objects are known as Kuiper Belt Objects or KBOs and they normally have a slightly different incline to their orbital tilts when compared to the eight known planets. However, some of the KBOs revealed a particularly different orbital tilt, which can only be possible if a large body is exerting a gravitational pull on the objects.

Researchers were also able to determine that only the force exerted by a body as large as Mars could affect the orbital tilts to such an extent.

The difference between Planet 9 and Planet 10

People may wonder what the difference is between the two hidden planets. However, one needs to remember that the Planet 9 is said to be around 500 to 700 astronomical units or AU from Earth.

One AU is measured as the average distance between the Sun and the Earth’s orbit. Planet 9 is also supposedly at least 10 times greater in terms of mass than the Earth.

Researchers believe that Planet 9 is too far away to affect the KBOs in any way and say that to have any effect on the bodies in the Kuiper Belt, the supposed planet would need to be at a distance of lesser than 100 AU. Planet 10, on the other hand, is suggested to be somewhere around 55 AU away from the Earth and can easily affect the KBOs’ orbital tilts.