For those of you who felt shocked and deceived when Pluto got demoted from planet rank, this may come as a bit of a surprise. It turns out that two undiscovered planets larger than Earth may be prowling at the icy edge of our solar system well away from Pluto.
That's according to a team of British and Spanish astrophysicists, who came to that decision after studying the weird behaviour of more than a dozen faraway asteroids, called “extreme trans-Neptunian objects” (ETNOs).
“The precise number is unclear, given that the data that we have is incomplete, but our calculations propose that there are at least two planets, and maybe more, within the limits of our solar system,” Dr. Carlos de la Fuente Marcos, a scientist at the Complutense University of Madrid in Spain who was part of the team, said in a printed report.
The astrophysicists observed 13 ETNOs--calculating their average remoteness from the sun, and noting the inclination of their orbits comparative to the plane of our solar system.
Previous study holds that the ETNOs should orbit our sun in approximately the same plane as the eight planets, and they should be dispersed arbitrarily at a distance of 150 astronomical units, or nearly 14 billion miles from the sun.
In its place, the astrophysicists found that the objects were more dispersed than anticipated, circling at distances from 150 to 525 AU with an average inclination of 20 degrees.
“This excess of objects with surprising orbital parameters makes us consider that some imperceptible forces are changing the distribution of the orbital elements of the ETNO,” de la Fuente Marcos said in the declaration. In other words, the objects may be subjective by the gravitational pull of large planets nearby.
The astrophysicists note that their discoveries are still primary, and they're calling for more investigation on a larger sample of distant objects to help improv their theory.
“If it is definite, our results may be really radical for astronomy,” de la Fuente Marcos said in the statement.
This post was written by Usman Abrar. To contact the writer write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Facebook