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Study: Jupiter kicked out the mysterious giant icy planet four billion years ago

The theory of once having a mysterious planet in our solar system has got one more proof. This time, a team of astrophysicists in Toronto has submitted a research report that says our solar system had one more giant planet similar to Jupiter, Uranus, Saturn and Neptune, which was ejected out of the solar system when collided with Jupiter about four billion years ago.

According to the study, published in the latest issue of The Astronomical Journal, Jupiter is the giant planet which kicked the mysterious 5th gas giant planet out of the solar system.

Astrophysicists from Toronto used computer simulated graphics of Uranus, Neptune, Jupiter and Saturn, including their moons (Saturn’s moon Iapetus and Jupiter’s moon Callisto). In order to get kicked out of the solar system, the mysterious giant planet had to collide with another giant planet in the solar system. According the team, Jupiter is the only giant planet that is capable of ejecting any planets out of the solar system by retaining the orbits of its moons.

Researchers stressed that if the mysterious planet collided with Saturn, the collision would be so intense that the orbits of Saturn’s moon Iapetus would have been differed from the original position, and would have been throuwn out as well.

Ryan Cloutier, lead author of the study, University of Toronto’s department of astronomy and astrophysics’ Ph.D candidate, said in a statement:

“This is consistent with our expectation that if you want to eject a planet out of the solar system, then you likely need a massive planet. Although our results may not have been that surprising, I was very excited. Conversely, if you run the same experiment with Jupiter you find that Jupiter is capable of ejecting the fifth giant planet whilst retaining an orbit of its moon Callisto.”

“I was happy because this meant that we don’t refute the existence of the fifth giant planet,” Cloutier said. “Having had a fifth giant planet that got ejected from our solar system billions of years ago is cool.”

Furthermore, Cloutier adds, “Developing an intimate understanding of our own solar system, especially at times long before we were even around, has important implications for our understanding of exoplanetary systems and how they compare to us.”

Earlier in August, a seperate team of researchers lead by Dr. David Nesvorny, an astronomer at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, have used a similarly created computer simulation to prove that the mysterious icy giant planet was thrown out of the solar system after the collision with Neptune. Earlier, David Nesvorny stated:

“In fact, it is expected from [our] modeling … that Jupiter, and not Saturn, should eject the hypothetical third ice giant.”

The new study on Jupiter will help scientists learn more about our solar system, its history and the evolving process.

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