A new study has unveiled that there are at least two more planets orbiting the sun, larger than the size of Earth, far beyond Pluto’s orbit. The research is published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
The presence of these two planets has been found with the help of a new analysis of “extreme trans-Neptunian objects” or ETNOs – frozen planetary bodies that reside on the extreme edge of our solar system.
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Carlos de la Fuente Marcos, a scientist at the UCM and co-author of the study, said the exact number of ETNos is uncertain, due to the limited data but their calculations suggest that there are at least two planets lurking past Pluto, and probably more, within the confines of our solar system.
Theoretically, these objects should have an average distance to the sun of 150 astronomical units. To put this into perspective, Earth is one astronomical unit to the sun. These orbits should also have an inclination of 0 degrees, according to Space.com. But the orbits of these ETNOs have semi-major axes ranging from 150-525 astronomical units and inclinations of 20 degrees, Pioneer reported.
The potential planets would likely be larger than Earth and would be located nearly 200 astronomical units from the sun.
These new results may shed light about Planet X, which scientists have largely discredited, 250 astronomical units from the sun and 10 times larger than Earth. In recent decades, Planet X has been dismissed by almost all astronomers.
Since the discovery of Neptune in the late 19th Century, some astronomers have suggested another planet could exist even further away from the Sun. However, Planet X was tied to the realms of science fiction and conspiracy theories.
With current instruments and technology available to scientists, it is nearly impossible to spot these distance objects.