A new study suggests that at least two more planets are circling the sun far beyond Pluto’s orbit.
The analysis is based on calculations of bodies located well past Neptune, regions of space that include the Kuiper Belt, the scattered disk and the Oort cloud.
Instead of randomly flying through space, 12 of these so-called “extreme trans-Neptunian objects” (ETNO) show some unexpected symmetry.
“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,” Carlos de la Fuente Marcos, with the Complutense University of Madrid, said in a press release.
“We consider that the most probable explanation is that other unknown planets exist beyond Neptune and Pluto,” he said.
The study was based on calculations of the gravitational influences a large object would have on smaller, distant bodies.
“If it is confirmed, our results may be truly revolutionary for astronomy,” de la Fuente Marcos said.
The research is published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.