Question: Read an article that researchers at the University of Toronto believe that Jupiter in the solar system early days kicked a planet out of the solar system . Do you believe this could be the one? Many thanks — Bill
Answer: This scenario, whereby the early solar system was comprised of more than the four gas giants we have today, has been hypothesized since 2011. The early solar system was an evolving place, with lots of gas and dust forming young planets which ultimately have to compete, in a gravitational sense, for a place in the solar system. It is entirely plausible that a fifth gas giant existed early in the evolution of the solar system, but was ejected by the heavyweights in this environment, Jupiter and Saturn. In fact, the prime suspect from the University of Toronto study appears to be Jupiter.