London, Sep 18 (ANI): New simulations have suggested that Uranus may have batted back and forth between Jupiter and Saturn before being flung out to its present location.
Previous modelling has shown that Jupiter and Saturn moved out of their initial orbits in the early solar system, scattering nearby objects, reports New Scientist.
In some simulations, this led to Uranus crossing the path of Saturn, which could then have flung it towards Jupiter, which lobbed it back to Saturn.
The process might have happened three times before Uranus was finally ejected beyond Saturn, to where it now resides.
Hurling Uranus would have caused Jupiter and Saturn to recoil, further shifting their orbits.
New simulations led by Alessandro Morbidelli of the Cote d'Azur Observatory in France have suggested this pinball game, which would have lasted just 100,000 years, fits with observations.
In an alternate scenario, Jupiter and Saturn moved to their orbits over 5 million years by simply flinging away space rocks, but this would have visibly scarred the asteroid belt.
"The evolution of the giant planets has been more violent than we thought," said Morbidelli. (ANI)