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Researchers have discovered over 300 new “minor planets” in our solar system using a revolutionary new technique.
Published in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, the new findings point to 316 trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs).
These are minor planets located in the far reaches of the solar system… and there’s bound to be even more – if projections are correct.
Using six years of data to collect high-precision images of the southern sky, the researchers predicted they’ll discover 500 more TNOs.
Gary Bernstein, from the University of Pennsylvania, explained the process:
The number of TNOs you can find depends on how much of the sky you look at and what's the faintest thing you can find.
Using the previous data, they were able to catalogue the new planets.
Making the catalogue 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.
The discovery of the TNOs will likely help to shed light on Planet Nine – the hypothetical planet in the outer region of our solar system.
This mysterious planet is believed to cause strange gravitational effects on a cluster of trans-Neptunian objects beyond Neptune’s orbit.
We’re sure the researchers are… over the moon about their new discoveries.