A new study suggests that a planet found 336 light-years from Earth could help scientists solve the mystery of the supposed Ninth Planet, hiding at the edge of the solar system.
Using data from the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers were able to measure the motion of a massive Jupiter-like planet orbiting very far from its stars and visible debris. This discovery of an exoplanet known as HD 106906 b is proof that such strange orbits are possible, including — for a distant planet in our own system, according to a press release from the Goddard Space Flight Center.
“This system is a potential comparison to our solar system,” says expert Meiji Nguyen of the University of California, Berkeley. The planet is very separate from its stars in an eccentric and highly offset orbit, and the same may be true for our Ninth Planet. This raises the question of how these planets formed and evolved to eventually obtain their present configuration.”
The results are published in The Astronomical Journal.