Scientists believe there may be at least two more undiscovered planets “in the outer fringes” of the Solar System. The planets are thought to be beyond the Orbits of Neptune and tiny “dwarf” planet Pluto.
The evidence for the new planets comes from observations of a belt of space rocks known as ”extreme trans-Neptunion objects.” The objects are orbiting as if they were being influenced by the gravitational pull of something unseen.
Professor Carlos de la Fuente Marcos, the lead scientist from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM), quoted by the Spanish scientific news service (Sinc), said: ”This excess of objects with unexpected orbital parameters makes us believe that some invisible forces are altering the distribution of the orbital elements of the Etno, and we consider that the most probable explanation is that other unknown planets exist beyond Neptune and Pluto.
”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.”
For decades, Astronomers have debated whether or not there are planets beyond Pluto. ”If it is confirmed, our results may be truly revolutionary for astronomy,” said Prof De La Fuente Marcos.
The new research, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters, is based on analysis of an effect called the ”Kozai mechanism”, by which a large body disturbs the orbit of a smaller and more distant object.
The scientists wrote: ”In this scenario, a population of stable asteroids may be shepherded by a distant, undiscovered planet larger than the Earth … ”