Astounding evidence of a hidden giant planet on the fringes of the solar system has been uncovered by scientists using computer simulations.
The mysterious world, nicknamed Planet Nine, is about 10 times bigger than the Earth. It is thought to be gaseous and similar to Uranus or Neptune.
Scientists believe it traces a highly elongated orbit and takes 10,000 to 20,000 years to make one journey about the sun.
Planet Nine is, on average, about 20 times further from the sun than Neptune, which orbits at a distance of about 4.5bn kilometres.
Once there were thought to be nine planets in the solar system, but then the outermost, Pluto, was demoted to the status of ‘dwarf planet’.
There is no doubt that the new world, which has not yet been observed directly, is a ‘true’ planet.
Professor Mike Brown, from the California Institute of Technology, one of the astronomers who announced the discovery in the Astronomical Journal, said: “This would be a real ninth planet. There have only been two true planets discovered since ancient times, and this would be a third.
Planet Nine has 5,000 times the mass of Pluto, which inhabits a ring of rocky bodies beyond Neptune known as the Kuiper Belt.
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