The idea of more planets orbiting the Sun sounds pretty crazy but, actually, it’s not as unlikely as you’d think. While Planet Nine sounds like a myth for most of us, a team of researchers have made a remarkable discovery. They have spotted 840 mini planets performing clear orbits around the Sun. These planets all lie beyond Neptune and, unsurprisingly, Pluto is one of them.
840 mini planets are hiding beyond Neptune
Researchers have always been interested in the whole Solar System, not just the big planets we are already familiar with. This way, between 2013 and 2017, they have performed the Outer Solar System Origins Survey. By using an advanced telescope in Hawaii, they spotted some tiny specks of light orbiting away from Neptune.
The shape and speed of these cosmic bodies attracted the attention of the researchers, so they started analyzing them more closely. This way, they discovered all these 840 specks of light were some sort of mini planets, thus increasing the number of cosmic objects in the Solar System.
The mini cosmic bodies tell us more about the Solar System
The presence of these mini planets at the outskirts of the Solar System helped researchers find more about its history. Soon after the formation of the Sun, it quickly got surrounded by a thick disk of dust and other materials. The disk in question started spreading as these mini planets settled at its edges.
When this happened, the bigger planets were pushed within the disk. There, they could establish some clear orbits, while all the other mini planets spread everywhere they could near the boundaries of the Solar System. Therefore, these little bundles of ice played a major role in the history of the Solar System as we know it.
The 840 mini planets belong to two big groups. One of them contains 436 planets present in the Kuiper Belt, while the second one gathers the 313 others that are even more far away. Therefore, researchers assumed there might be even more hiding further away from the Sun. The study on these cosmic bodies was published in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series.
Image source: NASA