Does Our Solar System Have 900 Planets?

Posted by on January 4th, 2010

After the discovery of Neptune in 1846 astronomers began to wonder if there were other planets beyond its orbit. The discovery of Pluto (now not a planet) seemed to answer the question, but others wondered if even further out a larger earth-sized object could be waiting to be discovered. has a fascinating claim made by a planetary scientist, Alan Stern at the Southwest Research Institute:

“When the solar system’s story is finally written, it’s much more likely that it will have closer to 900 planets rather than the nine that we grew up with.”

900 planets? How could that be possible? Anything Earth or Mars-sized in the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune would be visible; but beyond the Kuiper Belt is the Oort Cloud:

Brown and Stern say that the Oort Cloud represents a more likely prospect for worlds the size of Mars or Earth. The Oort Cloud surrounds our solar system with billions of icy bodies at distances as far out as 50,000 times the distance between the sun and Earth.

Now these planets are likely to be colder than Hoth, but who knows what we could do with some extreme terraforming…

link: Earth-Sized World Could Lurk in Outer Solar System – Yahoo! News

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