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THE dark outer reaches of our solar system could be hiding a new planet – the ninth or tenth, depending on who’s counting. The as-yet-unconfirmed world, thought to be around the mass of Mars, would explain the wonky orbits of a group of icy objects in a region known as the Kuiper belt.

This region starts beyond Neptune and ends at a distance 55 times further from the sun than Earth is, or 55 AU. We have spotted an increasing number of its residents, with the discovery of numerous Pluto-sized objects leading to the former ninth planet’s downgraded status.

But could something larger lie out past Neptune? Kathryn Volk and Renu Malhotra at the University of Arizona believe so. They have uncovered signs of weird warps in the orbits of distant Kuiper belt objects.

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Category: News