Well now Pluto has got more neighbours. The chances of scientists finding out the ninth planet of our solar system have increased.
Astronomers have found out around 140 minor planets that are circling our sun. These planets are neither comets nor official planets. They are present beyond Neptune’s orbit in the dark frigid depths. This discovery increases the trans Neptunian objects tally by five percent. Currently the tally is 3000.
The scientists did an in-depth study of the data gathered by Dark Energy Survey(DES) over the years 2013 to 2017. The goal of DES is to study about dark energy. Dark energy is considered to be the mysterious force that causes the expansion of the universe. DES uses a 520 megapixel camera that is mounted on top of Blanco 4-meter telescope. With such a powerful camera, it has become easy to discover many small objects in our solar system.
After many months of analysis and research, DES verified 316 of the small bodies as bona fide TNOs. These objects are at distance of 30 and 90 astronomical units from the sun. According to researchers, out of 316, 139 are new to science.
Pedro Bernardinelli, a physics and astronomy graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, said,”Many of the programs we’ve developed can be easily applied to any other large datasets, such as what the Rubin Observatory will produce.”
Currently the team members are analysing the 6 year data provided by DES. This could result in the discovery of another 500 TNOs.
Gary Bernstein, an astronomy and astrophysics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said,”There are lots of ideas about giant planets that used to be in the solar system and aren’t there anymore, or planets that are far away and massive but too faint for us to have noticed yet. Making the catalog is the fun discovery part. Then, when you create this resource, you can compare what you did find to what somebody’s theory said you should find.”