Monday, February 14, 2011

New Giant Planet Hidden In Our Solar System? We Might Need A New Kind Of Planet Classification To Describe It

"There's a giant planet right here, hiding in our solar system. One that nobody has ever seen, even while it is four times larger than Jupiter and has rings and moons orbiting it. At least, that's what two astrophysicists say.

The name of the planet is Tyche. The scientists are John Matese and Daniel Whitmire, from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. According to them, the giant planet is hiding in the Oort Cloud—the asteroid beehive that forms the outer shell of our solar system."

Gizmodo - The Mystery of the Giant Planet Hidden In Our Solar System


"The fate of Tyche (and even if it will end up getting called Tyche) will be decided by the all powerful International Astronomical Union (IAU). They are the dudes who demoted our beloved Pluto.

The IAU will decide ‘officially’ if Tyche exists and what it will be called. There is even some conjecture that they may even make it a whole new classification of planet." - New planet Tyche four times bigger than Jupiter


"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.

Whether it would become the new ninth planet would be decided by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The main argument against is that Tyche probably formed around another star and was later captured by the Sun's gravitational field. The IAU may choose to create a whole new category for Tyche, Professor Matese said.

The IAU would also have the final say about the gas giant's name. To the Greeks, Tyche was the goddess responsible for the destiny of cities. Her name was provisionally chosen in reference to an earlier hypothesis, now largely abandoned, that the Sun might be part of a binary star system with a dim companion, tentatively called Nemesis, that was thought responsible for mass extinctions on Earth. In myth, Tyche was the good sister of Nemesis. "

The Independent - Up telescope! Search begins for giant new planet

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