Science & Tech

Earth-like Planet Found by Japan in Kuiper Belt

  • Possible proof that our solar system has a “Earth-like planet” has been found by two Japanese astronomers.
  • It is thought that this mystery planet once existed in the Kuiper Belt, an area of the circumstellar disc beyond Neptune’s orbit that is made up of objects from the outer solar system.
  • Like planets, the Kuiper Belt revolves around the Sun.

What is the Kuiper Belt?

  • The Kuiper Belt, also known as the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt, is a flat ring of small icy bodies orbiting the Sun beyond Neptune’s orbit.
  • Gerard Kuiper, a Dutch-American astronomer, first hypothesized its existence in the 1950s.
  • Millions of ice objects, also known as Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) or trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), are found in this belt.
  • It is seen as a holdover from the early solar system’s existence.
  • Many short-period comets with orbits around the Sun of less 20 years are considered to originate from the Kuiper Belt.
  • Small icy bodies like comets, asteroids, and dwarf planets make up the majority of it.
  • One of the most well-known objects in the Kuiper Belt, Pluto, which was once categorised as the ninth planet, was reclassified as a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 2006, in part because of its position within the belt.

The Results of Astronomers

  • According to the Japanese scientists, the size of this new planet, if it exists, would be 1.5 to 3 times that of Earth.
  • The discovery disproves earlier theories of a far-off “Planet Nine” and suggests that there may be a planet within the Kuiper Belt that is closer to Earth.
  • The astronomers postulate the existence of an Earth-sized planet as well as a number of trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) on distinctive orbits that would act as observational indicators of this hypothetical planet’s disturbances.
  • They predict that this planet might be tilted at around a 30 degree angle and could be located anywhere between 200 and 500 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun. Pluto’s distance from Earth is 39 AU for reference.
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