An Additional Planet Between Saturn and Uranus Was Kicked Out of the Solar System

Scientists Finally Know What Time It Is on Saturn

New work led by Carnegie’s Matt Clement reveals the likely original locations of Saturn and Jupiter. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Where were Jupiter and Saturn born?

New work led by Carnegie’s Matt Clement reveals the likely original locations of Saturn and Jupiter. These findings refine our understanding of the forces that determined our Solar System’s unusual architecture, including the ejection of an additional planet between Saturn and Uranus, ensuring that only small, rocky planets, like Earth, formed inward of Jupiter.

In its youth, our Sun was surrounded by a rotating disk of gas and dust from which the planets were born. The orbits of early formed planets were thought to be initially close-packed and circular, but gravitational interactions between the larger objects perturbed the arrangement and caused the baby giant planets to rapidly reshuffle, creating the configuration we see today.

“We now know that there are thousands of planetary systems in our Milky Way galaxy alone,” Clement said. “But it turns out that the arrangement of planets in our own Solar System is highly unusual, so we are using models to reverse engineer and replicate its formative processes. This is a bit like trying to figure out what happened in a car crash after the fact — how fast were the cars going, in what directions, and so on.”

Physicists Probe Hydrogen To Better Understand the Interiors of Giant Planets

Jupiter in its infancy was thought to orbit the Sun three times for every two orbits that Saturn completed. But this arrangement is not able to satisfactorily explain the configuration of the giant planets that we see today. Matt Clement and his co-authors showed that a ratio of two Jupiter orbits to one Saturnian orbit more consistently produced results that look like our familiar planetary architecture. Credits: NASA/JPL Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

Clement and his co-authors — Carnegie’s John Chambers, Sean Raymond of the University of Bordeaux, Nathan Kaib of University of Oklahoma, Rogerio Deienno of the Southwest Research Institute, and André Izidoro of Rice University — conducted 6,000 simulations of our Solar System’s evolution, revealing an unexpected detail about Jupiter and Saturn’s original relationship.

Jupiter in its infancy was thought to orbit the Sun three times for every two orbits that Saturn completed. But this arrangement is not able to satisfactorily explain the configuration of the giant planets that we see today. The team’s models showed that a ratio of two Jupiter orbits to one Saturnian orbit more consistently produced results that look like our familiar planetary architecture.

“This indicates that while our Solar System is a bit of an oddball, it wasn’t always the case,” explained Clement, who is presenting the team’s work at the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences virtual meeting today. “What’s more, now that we’ve established the effectiveness of this model, we can use it to help us look at the formation of the terrestrial planets, including our own, and to perhaps inform our ability to look for similar systems elsewhere that could have the potential to host life.”

The model also showed that the positions of Uranus and Neptune were shaped by the mass of the Kuiper belt — an icy region on the Solar System’s edges composed of dwarf planets and planetoids of which Pluto is the largest member — and by an ice giant planet that was kicked out in the Solar System’s infancy.

Reference: “Born eccentric: Constraints on Jupiter and Saturn’s pre-instability orbits” by Matthew S. Clement, Sean N. Raymond, Nathan A. Kai, Rogerio Deienno, John E. Chambers and André Izidoro, 6 October 2020, ICARUS.
DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2020.114122

This work was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the NSF’s CAREER award, CNRSs PNP program, NASA Astrobiology Institute’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory Lead Team, the NASA SSW program, and NASA.

The majority of computing for this project was performed at the OU Supercomputing Center for Education and Research at the University of Oklahoma. Some of the computing for this project was performed on Carnegie’s Memex cluster. The authors thank Carnegie Institution for Science and the Carnegie Sci-Comp Committee for providing computational resources and support that contributed to these research results. The authors acknowledge the Texas Advanced Computing Center at The University of Texas at Austin for providing HPC, visualization, database, or grid resources that have contributed to the research results reported within this paper.

9 Comments on "An Additional Planet Between Saturn and Uranus Was Kicked Out of the Solar System"

  1. They couldn’t just admit the other planet like nibiru and tiamat existed without trying to make it like they discovered this and in science. Not that the stories of the annunaki are real lol.

    • Torbjörn Larsson | November 2, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Reply

      You can’t “admit” to what isn’t there. And besides that the result shows how unlikely extraneous planets would be, the names you suggest derives from superstition and/or pseudoscience ideas.

      • If it pseudoscience then why is Tiamot in between venus and the earth as we speak. It has been photographed numerous times coalescing and releasing its core Having the umbilical cord that leads to the well. A little research will prove me right try hush puppy YouTube

  2. Very disappointed that this article does not go into detail about the theory and accumulated proof that there was a planet that was ejected.

  3. Torbjörn Larsson | November 2, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Reply

    This bit is old hat: “The frequent ejection in simulations of the ice giant encountering Jupiter has led David Nesvorný and others to hypothesize an early Solar System with five giant planets, one of which was ejected during the instability.” [ “Nice_model#Five-planet_Nice_model” @ Wikpedia]

  4. The planet was ejected during the young solar system’s interaction with another star (and possibly planets) during the last galaxy merger, when the Milky Way and another galaxy collided.

    • Torbjörn Larsson | November 4, 2020 at 9:32 am | Reply

      There isn’t any merger correlated with the solar system age, but there are dwarf galaxy interactions of ongoing mergers that are thought to be associated with increased star formation rate.

      “The formation of the sun, the solar system and the subsequent emergence of life on Earth may be a consequence of a collision between our galaxy – the Milky Way – and a smaller galaxy called Sagittarius.”

      “he Sagittarius dwarf galaxy has been orbiting the Milky Way for billions for years. As its orbit around the 10,000 times more massive Milky Way gradually tightened, it started colliding with our galaxy’s disk. The three known collisions between Sagittarius and the Milky Way have, according to a new study, triggered major star formation episodes, one of which may have given rise to the solar system. Image via ESA.”

      [“Did galactic crash trigger solar system formation?”, EarthSky in SPACE]

      Star-star interactions during collisions and mergers are very rare – space is large – instead tidal effects dominates.

  5. Why do astronomers presume that the solar system’s architecture is special? I understand that everywhere we look we find hot Jupiters on 3 day orbits and the like. This is just a problem related to our limited technology. It’s easy to spot gravitational wobbles in these kind of systems. So let’s wait and see what follow-up technologies and obs can decipher about our galactic neighbourhood. It just needs TIME and IMPROVED RESOLUTION to find a more accurate picture. Small datasets and premature conclusions often prove to be wrong. Thankyou.

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