The solar system could be thrown into disaster when the sun dies if the mysterious 'Planet Nine' exists, according to research from the University of Warwick.
Dr Dimitri Veras in the Department of Physics has discovered that the presence of Planet Nine - the hypothetical planet which may exist in the outer Solar System - could cause the elimination of at least one of the giant planets after the sun dies, hurling them out into interstellar space through a sort of 'pinball' effect.
When the sun starts to die in around seven billion years, it will blow away half of its own mass and inflate itself -- swallowing the Earth -- before fading into an ember known as a white dwarf. This mass ejection will push Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune out to what was assumed a safe distance.
However, Dr. Veras has discovered that the existence of Planet Nine could rewrite this happy end-ing. He found that Planet Nine might not be pushed out in the same way, and in fact might instead be thrust inward into a death dance with the solar system's four known giant planets -- most notably Uranus and Neptune. The most likely result is ejection from the solar system, forever.