Hot on the heels of the news that Pluto is now a planet again, it looks like we may have a few more stragglers joining our solar system.
Scientists from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) have reason to believe that they've discovered two planets. that are possibly even bigger than Earth, lurking on the edge of our very own solar system.
Professor Carlos de la Fuente Marcos, the lead author of a study published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters, said that the planets could be in an area of space where they thought there were only random bits of rock, but given that these "extreme trans-Neptunian objects" are moving in unexpected ways, they believe that there is something there exerting a large force on them, which may well be a planet, or possibly two.
Scientists have long debated whether or not there is another planet lurking behind Pluto, and the latest research suggests that there might well be. Speaking to Servicio de Información y Noticias Científicas (SINC), De la Fuente 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".
However, further investigation is needed as these predictions of two new planets would go against a whole wealth of evidence to the contrary, as well computer simulations of our solar system and what lies beyond it. De la Fuente added that "the exact number [of planets] 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".
It will be a few months before a follow up study based on a larger sample size, but it could be a revolutionary discovery if it turns out to be true, and would completely change the mnemonic 'My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets'.
Via The Independent