Two new planets bigger than Earth possibly found in our solar system
By RYAN GORMAN
Scientists may have found Planet X -- the long-rumored object believed to be larger than Earth and further from the sun than Pluto.
Planet X and another object dubbed "Planet Y," are among 13 "extreme trans-Neptunian objects" (ETNOs) orbiting the sun at great distances, according to a report in Space, which quoted a new research paper.
They are believed to follow elliptical paths averaging about 200 astronomical units (AU) from the sun. Earth is 1 AU, or 93 million miles, from the sun.
"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 ETNOs, and we consider that the most probable explanation is that other unknown planets exist beyond Neptune and Pluto," lead author Carlos de la Fuente Marcos, of the Complutense University of Madrid, said in a statement.
"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," he added.
They are far enough away to be nearly impossible to spot with current instruments, according to Space.
Planet X was previously hypothesized in a 2014 research paper.
Called 2012 VP113, researchers Chadwick Trujillo and Scott Sheppard claimed that the object never came closer to the sun than 80 AU, according to Space.
The newly-found ETNO joins Sedna, a dwarf planet believed to be about 250 AU from the sun, as objects residing outside the Kuiper Belt, where Pluto resides, according to Space.
Pluto was only recently reclassified as a planet, albeit a Dwarf planet, after losing the distinction in 2006.