(Planet X’s orbit. From http://www.sciencemag.org All Credit due)
Does that now make fourteen orbital bodies (nine planets plus five dwarf planets) that have perihelion and distant aphelion orbits around our Sun? Demoting Pluto to a dwarf planet was silly and unnecessary, but alas the classification had been put through and it is now considered a dwarf planet. The rigid classification rules of what is and what is not a planet are possibly outdated, when other planetary bodies should not be seen from a anthropocentric perspective, in other words not gauged against the Earth. As the Kepler telescope has discovered, there is a plethora of exoplanets with orbits that are odd, some are shaped differently, some are tidal locked around Red Dwarf stars, others orbit two stars, some are small, some are huge. But all do not resemble our solar system planets and the orbits that we are used too. The universe is strange. What should be considered in planetary classification (not the moons) is if there is moisture and/or atmospheres and the core structure of planets via planetary differentiation which reveals metal segregation, and of course the search for micro bacteria to possible alien (primitive animal) life. Bets are on that Europa (Jupiter’s moon) will reveal lifeforms within the icy crust.
Not only is the universe strange, but our own solar system is now showing up oddities i.e unknown planets.
“The solar system appears to have a new ninth planet. Today, two scientists announced evidence that a body nearly the size of Neptune—but as yet unseen—orbits the sun every 15,000 years. During the solar system’s infancy 4.5 billion years ago, they say, the giant planet was knocked out of the planet-forming region near the sun. Slowed down by gas, the planet settled into a distant elliptical orbit, where it still lurks today.
The claim is the strongest yet in the centuries-long search for a “Planet X” beyond Neptune. The quest has been plagued by far-fetched claims and even outright quackery. But the new evidence comes from a pair of respected planetary scientists, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, who prepared for the inevitable skepticism with detailed analyses of the orbits of other distant objects and months of computer simulations. “If you say, ‘We have evidence for Planet X,’ almost any astronomer will say, ‘This again? These guys are clearly crazy.’ I would, too,” Brown says. “Why is this different? This is different because this time we’re right.”