Solar System May Have Two More Planets

 

Spanish and British astronomers have announced in the British journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” that there may be two more planets in our solar system somewhere beyond Pluto’s orbit.

Currently, our solar system is believed to have eight planets with Neptune being the outermost. Pluto used to be considered the ninth planet but was demoted to dwarf planet status in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union. Some people still maintain that it’s a planet.

The Spanish and British astronomers have concluded that there are more planets in the solar system based on their observations of space rocks called “extreme trans-Neptunian objects” or ETNOs. Hypothetically, ETNOs should form a band about 150 Astronomical Units (AUs) from the Sun. An AU is the distance between the Earth and the Sun which equals nearly 93 million miles (150 million kilometers). ETNOs should also be more or less on the same orbital plane as the planets in the system.

Scientists have studied about a dozen ETNOs and have found instead that they are scattered between 150 and 525 AUs and have an orbital inclinations of 20 degrees. That suggests that there is something large with a strong gravitational pull knocking the ETNOs out of alignment. The scientists’ calculations indicate there may be two planets, one 200 AUs from the Sun and one 250 AUs from the Sun. By contrast, Neptune orbits about 30 AUs from the Sun, while Pluto orbits 40 AUs from the Sun.

Scientists had found last year that planets can form hundreds of AUs away from their Sun. Researchers using the ALMA advanced telescope in Chile reported that exact scenario. This new finding will be big news to space enthusiasts like Dr. Rod Rohrich and other fans of space.

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