Could there be another planet behind the sun?

Could there be another planet behind the sun?
Color illustration showing the scale of planets in our solar system, focusing on Jupiter and Saturn. Credit: NASA

If you've read your share of sci-fi, and I know you have, you've read stories about another Earth-sized planet orbiting on the other side of the Solar System, blocked by the Sun. Could it really be there?

No. Nooooo. No. Just no.

This is a delightful staple in science fiction. There's a mysterious world that orbits the Sun exactly the same distance as Earth, but it's directly across the Solar System from us; always hidden by the Sun. Little do we realize they know we're here, and right now they're marshalling their attack fleet to invade our planet. We need to invade counter-Earth before they attack us and steal our water, eat all our cheese or kidnap our beloved Nigella Lawson and Alton Brown to rule as their culinary queen and king of Other-Earth.

Well, could this happen? Could there be another planet in a stable orbit, hiding behind the Sun? The answer, as you probably suspect, is NO. No. Nooooo. Just no.

Well, that's not completely true. If some powerful and mysterious flying spaghetti being magically created another planet and threw it into orbit, it would briefly be hidden from our view because of the Sun. But we don't exist in a Solar System with just the Sun and the Earth. There are those other planets orbiting the Sun as well. As the Earth orbits the Sun, it's subtly influenced by those other planets, speeding up or slowing down in its orbit.

So, while we're being pulled a little forwards in our orbit by Jupiter, that other planet would be on the opposite side of the Sun. And so, we'd speed up a little and catch sight of it around the Sun. Over the years, these various motions would escalate, and that other planet would be seen more and more in the sky as we catch up to it in orbit.

Eventually, our orbits would intersect, and there'd be an encounter. If we were lucky, the planets would miss each other, and be kicked into new, safer, more stable orbits around the Sun. And if we were unlucky, they'd collide with each other, forming a new super-sized Earth, killing everything on both , obviously.

What if there was originally two half-Earths and they collided and that's how we got current Earth! Or 4 quarter Earths, each with their own population? And then BAM. One big Earth. Or maybe 64 64th Earths all transforming and converging to form VOLTREARTH.

Now, I'm now going to make things worse, and feed your imagination a little with some actual science. There are a few places where objects can share a stable orbit. These locations are known as Lagrange points, regions where the gravity of two objects create a stable location for a third object. The best of these are known as the L4 and L5 Lagrangian points. L4 is about 60-degrees ahead of a planet in its orbit, and L5 is about 60-degrees behind a planet in its orbit.

A small enough body, relative to the planet, could hang out in a stable location for billions of years. Jupiter has a collection of Trojan asteroids at its L4 and L5 points of its orbit, always holding at a stable distance from the planet. Which means, if you had a massive enough gas giant, you could have a less massive terrestrial world in a stable orbit 60-degrees away from the planet.

Could there be another planet behind the sun?
Diagram of the five Lagrange points associated with the sun-Earth system, showing DSCOVR orbiting the L-1 point. Image is not to scale. Credit: NASA/WMAP Science Team

Well, it was a pretty clever idea. Unfortunately, the forces of gravity conspire to make this hidden planet idea completely impossible. Most importantly, when someone tells you there's a hidden planet on the other side of the Sun, just remember these words:

No.

Nooooo.

No.


Explore further

Earth's orbit around the sun

Source: Universe Today
Citation: Could there be another planet behind the sun? (2015, February 24) retrieved 23 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-02-planet-sun.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
139 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Feb 24, 2015
Yes perhaps it sits at a Lagrange point but it is transparent. It is the home world of the 900 ft tall drunken glassy-headed beings spotted in Mars photos by sharp-eyed posters here at physorg not so long ago.

Feb 24, 2015
Ok, Frazier.
This one wasn't bad. Fairly Entertaining, too...

Feb 24, 2015
Yes perhaps it sits at a Lagrange point but it is transparent. It is the home world of the 900 ft tall drunken glassy-headed beings spotted in Mars photos by sharp-eyed posters here at physorg not so long ago.


It's not transparent it 's embedded in a cloud of dark matter....

Feb 24, 2015
"Dammit!! Trogon, methinks the half-wit earthlings are on to us"

Feb 24, 2015
Has anyone read Zacharia Stichen's book 'The 12th Planet', purportedly taken from translations of the ancient Sumerian clay cuneiform tablets ? It tells of an additional planet,'Nibiru', orbiting our Sun, but in a highly elliptical orbit, that only brings it near us every so many thousands of years.

Feb 24, 2015
But is there another moon on the other side of the moon?

Feb 24, 2015
I Know of Nibiru, the planet in our solar system that eventually reaches its orbit within the inner planets close to the sun and swings back out to follow its orbit to the outside reaches of our solar system. When it does this it disrupts all the other planets and causes great disturbance to earth. It's long overdo. Nibiru has a population of intelligent beings who are our creators who "made" us to be their slaves. I've even heard of the Suns twin star with a solar system of its own. These beings mess with us when they close in and visit us in ufo's.

Feb 24, 2015
Naturally we cant see it since its on the dark side of the sun.

ACW
Feb 24, 2015
The planet Neptune was mathematically predicted before it was directly observed. In 1846, scientists located Neptune officially based upon the perturbations of Uranus. After Neptune was discovered, scientists predicted the existence of yet another planet based upon perturbations to Neptune with Pluto's discovery in 1930. Once they determined that Pluto and the rest of the Kuiper belt had not enough mass to account for the perturbations, some people postulated the existence of Nibiru, however once Relativity was used to adjust Newton's theory of gravity, the existence of a rouge star or planet was put to rest.

Feb 24, 2015
But is there another moon on the other side of the moon?


According the Man-in-the-two-Moons-Skippy there is.

Feb 24, 2015
According to the 1969 movie, Doppelgänger, there is another Earth behind the Sun. Who knew?

Feb 24, 2015
Ok,i got this. We just need Neil DeGrasse Tyson,Pink Floyd and Watson from jeopardy fame to get on this right away.

Feb 24, 2015
Of course there's an alter-Earth. Didn't everyone see the movie 'Journey to the Far Side of the Sun'?

Feb 24, 2015
I wonder, is there such a configuration, of two identically massed bodies orbiting a star, somewhere out there? Statistically, yes.

Feb 24, 2015
I wonder, is there such a configuration, of two identically massed bodies orbiting a star, somewhere out there? Statistically, yes.
Uh no because the article specifically explained to all those who read it that this is an unstable configuration.

Feb 24, 2015
I frequent a website that's filled to the hilt with conspiracy nutballs, everything from the ISS not being real (it's a CGI projected hologram for those protest they've seen it with their own eyes) to of course NASA never once setting boot on the Moon... This article would have them in a tizzy fit worthy of an epileptic seizure! Must share this with them!

Feb 24, 2015
I think the idea is fun, and I would agree that in the classical physics sense there is no planet on the "opposite" side of Sol.

However, Chaos theory would suggest that in an alternate reality there is a system called Sol that shares everything in common with our own universe but for the fact that there is a second Earth orbiting "opposite to the original Earth.

Feb 24, 2015
I wonder, is there such a configuration, of two identically massed bodies orbiting a star, somewhere out there? Statistically, yes.
Uh no because the article specifically explained to all those who read it that this is an unstable configuration.


It is unstable if there are other gravity bodies effecting the orbit of those two orbiting bodies.

But there is no reason I can think of that a Single star with 2 equal but opposite planets orbiting at 180 degrees from one another would ever intersect.

Feb 24, 2015
Is their model using retarded, superluminal, or instantaneous gravity?

Anyhow , for everyone's edification.
Spiral vortex accurate model our solar system
https://www.youtu...F_VoiCck

Feb 24, 2015
Most importantly, when someone tells you there's a hidden planet on the other side of the Sun, just remember these words: No. Nooooo. No.
This is very ignorant attitude and nonscientific way of reasoning. Actually the only argument against it is, that the L3 point is unstable, when only gravitational law is taken into account. But for example the presence of dark matter would change the situation a lot. We already know, that the very massive objects tend to follow linear dark matter filaments and that they do actually prefer the collinear configuration. In science you shouldn't be sure with anything.

Feb 25, 2015
I frequent a website that's filled to the hilt with conspiracy nutballs, everything from the ISS not being real (it's a CGI projected hologram for those protest they've seen it with their own eyes) to of course NASA never once setting boot on the Moon... This article would have them in a tizzy fit worthy of an epileptic seizure! Must share this with them!

Phys.org?

Feb 25, 2015
Indie007
Anyhow , for everyone's edification.
Spiral vortex accurate model our solar system
https://www.youtu...F_VoiCck

Your video is EXACTLY how I think of it. However, I think your angles might be a little off. The solar system axial tilt doesn't seem to be accurately reflected...
Regardless - Adds a whole new dimension to "relativity", doesn't it...:-)

Feb 25, 2015
Hmm. They could have shortened the article to: The L3 Lagrange point is unstable.

But for example the presence of dark matter would change the situation

Even a weird dark matter distribution would not change that.

Feb 25, 2015
Maybe we already observe it, as it disturbed the COBE measurements. A blob of dust trailing the Earth showed up nicely in measurements of the cosmic infrared background radiation by a precessor of WMAP, the famous satellite COBE: This blob has a radius of about a tenth that of the earth's orbit. The dark matter effects do apply to small particles preferentially with large surface/volume ratio. So far, attempts to find similar dust clouds at the Lagrange points of Mars and Jupiter have failed..

Feb 27, 2015
Has anyone read Zacharia Stichen's book 'The 12th Planet', purportedly taken from translations of the ancient Sumerian clay cuneiform tablets ? It tells of an additional planet,'Nibiru', orbiting our Sun, but in a highly elliptical orbit, that only brings it near us every so many thousands of years.
Can't say I've read it, but Stichen is clearly a pseudoscientific nutball. He says that humans on Earth are a race of ancient astronauts, simply ignoring the fossil history clearly showing the evolutionary arc leading to anatomically modern humans. His translations of ancient texts are amateurish and, well, let's just say, imaginary. There's no reason to believe anything said about Nibiru, not the least this fellow.

Feb 27, 2015
Most importantly, when someone tells you there's a hidden planet on the other side of the Sun, just remember these words: No. Nooooo. No.
This is very ignorant attitude and nonscientific way of reasoning. Actually the only argument against it is, that the L3 point is unstable, when only gravitational law is taken into account. But for example the presence of dark matter would change the situation a lot. We already know, that the very massive objects tend to follow linear dark matter filaments and that they do actually prefer the collinear configuration. In science you http://www.univer...-points.
No, that's *not* the only argument. We have *looked*. There's nothing there. What's ignorant and unscientific about that?

Feb 28, 2015
Indie007
Anyhow , for everyone's edification.
Spiral vortex accurate model our solar system
https://www.youtu...F_VoiCck

Your video is EXACTLY how I think of it. However, I think your angles might be a little off. The solar system axial tilt doesn't seem to be accurately reflected...
Regardless - Adds a whole new dimension to "relativity", doesn't it...:-)

No. Nooooo... Or as Phil Plait (who writes Bad Astronomy blog) says, "It's wrong. And not just superficially; it's deeply wrong, based on a very wrong premise." See No, Our Solar System is NOT a Vortex

Feb 28, 2015
it's deeply wrong, based on a very wrong premise." See No, Our Solar System is NOT a Vortex
@Proto
awesome link... i've been trying to explain exactly that to my idiot brother for months now... he believes the video, i tried to show him the problems with it, but....

so i really appreciate making it easy for me

it is far easier for an older brother to accept the science from someone else ... even if i did help him through high school and more LOL

Mar 03, 2015
These beings mess with us when they close in and visit us in ufo's.


You got the UFO part all wrong, they actually visit us in style driving Cadillac El Dorado's.
The name "Nibiru" is just something that the CIA made up to hide reality away for the masses that are not yet prepared, but I had access to the hidden archives of the NSA and I know that the real name of the planet is Tupelo... and you don't need to think to hard to know who is the Leader of this planet, do you?

you make me so lonely baby,
I get so lonely,
I get so lonely I could die.

Mar 03, 2015
No, that's *not* the only argument. We have *looked*. There's nothing there. What's ignorant and unscientific about that?

Pshaw...there you go again using facts. How dare you! Actual evidence is so...passé

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more