Talk of a ‘Planet 9’ has stirred up the planetary theorists it seems. Think of a number…
H/T Daily Telegraph
The Solar System may hold 10 or 11 planets, scientists have predicted after running new computer models on the data which led to the announcement of Planet Nine.
In January, astronomers Professor Konstantin Batygin and Professor Mike Brown from California Institute of Technology predicted the existence of a ninth planet after discovering that 13 objects in the Kuiper Belt – an area beyond Neptune – were all moving together as if ‘lassooed’ by the gravity of a huge object.
Now scientists from Cambridge University and Spain have discovered that the paths of the dwarf planets are not as stable as they thought, meaning they could be falling under the influence of more planets further out.
Sverre Aarseth from the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge and brothers Carlos and Raúl de la Fuente Marcos, two freelance Spanish astronomers, said that the orbit of Planet Nine would have to change to allow the dwarf planet to maintain stability for a long time.
Otherwise more planets would need to be involved. “We believe that in addition to a Planet Nine, there could also be a Planet Ten and even more,” said Carlos de la Fuente Marcos.