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Monday, February 14, 2011

Looks like we may have hired Pluto's replacement

Science just continues to astound:

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.

The idea that there may well be something that big out there that we've never known about until now is truly, truly awe-inspiring.


Kal said...

Jupiter is going to be SOOOO pissed to hear this.

Could this be the second sun from '2010 - The Year We Make Contact'?

GTV said...

You may not yet have seen Phil Plait's response pointing out some of the flaws in the reporting.

GTV said...

By the way, not trying to be a jerk - I happened to read Phil's post in Google reader right after I read yours!

Call me Paul said...

It's an interesting theory. Something that far away might not perturb the orbits of the other planets enough to be mathematically identified the way Neptune and Uranus were. Still, as Phil says, the data from the studies done to date are pretty inconclusive. It's really a shot in the dark.

See what I did there?