Seems like even the Solar System has been an unstable place lately: we had Pluto losing its planet status in 2006 and now this. This is really cool even though, some believe the chance for another planet is not very likely. But this will surely give those 2012-crackpots more fuel for their crazy “Nemesis” idea. Paul Rodgers writes in the Independent:
If you grew up thinking there were nine planets and were shocked when Pluto was demoted five years ago, get ready for another surprise. There may be nine after all, and Jupiter may not be the largest.
The hunt is on for a gas giant up to four times the mass of Jupiter thought to be lurking in the outer Oort Cloud, the most remote region of the solar system. The orbit of Tyche (pronounced ty-kee), would be 15,000 times farther from the Sun than the Earth’s, and 375 times farther than Pluto’s, which is why it hasn’t been seen so far.
But scientists now believe the proof of its existence has already been gathered by a Nasa space telescope, Wise, and is just waiting to be analysed.
The first tranche of data is to be released in April, and astrophysicists John Matese and Daniel Whitmire from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette think it will reveal Tyche within two years. “If it does, John and I will be doing cartwheels,” Professor Whitmire said. “And that’s not easy at our age.”
Once Tyche has been located, other telescopes could be pointed at it to confirm the discovery.
Read More in the Independent