According to astronomers, these new alien worlds have some of the highest perihelia of objects known in our solar system, even though they are not especially distant, and are unlike similar high-perihelion objects like Sedna. Researchers are unsure as to how these objects achieved such ‘unusual’ orbits.
Many people believe that similar discoveries will help astronomers eventually hunt down one of the most elusive objects in our solar system: Planet Nine, aka, Planet X.
In an effort to find new planets lurking the outer edges of our solar system, astronomers have detected two new alien worlds beyond the orbit of Neptune, whose orbits are in ‘resonance’ with said planet.
The newly found words have the third and fourth most remote perihelion –the closest approach to the sun of any known object in the solar system.
Their orbital paths imply that the alien worlds many have interacted with Neptune in the distant past, and continue to so presently, despite their great distance from the gas giant.
The discovery of the two frozen worlds was made based on observations from the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii and the Inter-American Observatory Cerro Tololo (CTIO) in Chile. The planets are catalogued in the July edition of the issue Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The discoverers of the alien words are Scott S. Sheppard (Carnegie Institute) and colleagues Chad Trujillo (Gemini Observatory) and David J. Tholen (University of Hawaii). This discovery was made possible after one of the most extensive searches for distant solar system objects.
The recently discovered alien worlds occupy an area of space just beyond what is known as the “edge of the Kuiper Belt,” some 50 astronomical units from the sun.
In their search, they discovered a collection of strange new objects that not only have high perihelia (q > 40 AU), but have also surprisingly low or moderate semimajor axes (50 < a < 100 AU) and eccentricities (e < 0.3).
Based on the findings of the two alien worlds, astronomers believe that a ‘significant’ population of similar objects likely exist beyond the limits of the Kuiper Belt.
According to experts, the study of similar objects will help us understand the history behind Neptune and the interaction with smaller celestial objects. Researchers also expect to understand how the gas giant shaped the outer reaches of our solar system.