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Jupiter Kicked Out Mysterious Planet From Solar System Billions Of Years Ago

Update Date: Nov 04, 2015 09:20 AM EST

It happened four billion years ago. New research suggests that Jupiter, the biggest planet in the solar system, kicked another planet out.

At the point when the earth was formed, a fifth gas giant was present in the solar system, according to the University of Toronto.

Earlier, scientists blamed Saturn for the ejection, but it is now clear that Jupiter did it.

"Our evidence points to Jupiter," said Ryan Cloutier, a PhD candidate in U of T's Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and lead author of a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal.

Such an ejection would happen when planets clash, so that the objects force remote close encounters between planets in which one of them accelerates so quickly that it is able to separate from the sun's powerful gravitational pull. While research so far has suggested that such a pull back can happen between gas giants, it has not examined its effect on the planets' moons.

Scientists studied the moons as well as their orbits. They have built up some interesting computer simulations that examined "modern-day trajectories of Callisto and Lapetus, Jupiter and Saturn's moons," according to HNGN.

With this novel model, the scientists noted that every secondary object can create its "own gravitational orbit" if its host planet is out of the solar system.

"Ultimately, we found that Jupiter is capable of ejecting the fifth giant planet while retaining a moon with the orbit of Callisto," said Cloutier, who is also a graduate fellow at the Centre for Planetary Sciences at the University of Toronto at Scarborough. "On the other hand, it would have been very difficult for Saturn to do so because Lapetus would have been excessively unsettled, resulting in an orbit that is difficult to reconcile with its current trajectory."

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