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Saturday, 17 January 2015
2 planets may lurk in solar system beyond Pluto, study says
There is evidence of at least two planets larger than Earth lurking in our solar system beyond Pluto, a new analysis of "extreme trans-Neptunian objects" reveals.
After studying 13 of these "extreme trans-Neptunian objects," or ETNOs, the obits of these objects are different from a theory that predicts the orbits.
“The exact number is uncertain, given that the data that we have is limited, but our calculations suggest that there are at least two planets, and probably more, within the confines of our solar system," Carlos de la Fuente Marcos, scientist at the UCM and co-author of the study, said in a statement Friday.
Theory says these objects should have an average distance to the sun of 150 astronomical units. These orbits should also have an inclination of 0 degrees, Space.com says.
However, the orbits of the ETNOs have semi-major axes ranging from 150-525 astronomical units and inclinations of about 20 degrees.
These potential worlds would be bigger than Earth and would lie nearly 200 astronomical units from the sun. Earth is one astronomical unit from the sun.