Sad to say, but there will be no vacation from this three ring circus sideshow of Freaks. Nor a Kirsten Dunst flavored Melancholia stylized Nibiru cataclysm. Yet you still may want to learn to swim. There’s still comets to fret about and whatever other fear of the week our imaginations can dredge up.
After searching hundreds of millions of objects across our sky, NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has turned up no evidence of the hypothesized celestial body in our solar system commonly dubbed “Planet X.”
Researchers previously had theorized about the existence of this large, but unseen celestial body, suspected to lie somewhere beyond the orbit of Pluto. In addition to “Planet X,” the body had garnered other nicknames, including “Nemesis” and “Tyche.”
This recent study, which involved an examination of WISE data covering the entire sky in infrared light, found no object the size of Saturn or larger exists out to a distance of 10,000 astronomical units (au), and no object larger than Jupiter exists out to 26,000 au. One astronomical unit equals 93 million miles. Earth is 1 au, and Pluto about 40 au, from the sun.
“The outer solar system probably does not contain a large gas giant planet, or a small, companion star,” said Kevin Luhman of the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds at Penn State University, University Park, Pa., author of a paper in the Astrophysical Journal describing the results.
But searches of the WISE catalog are not coming up empty. A second study reveals several thousand new residents in our sun’s “backyard,” consisting of stars and cool bodies called brown dwarfs.