New Planet Sought at Edge of Solar System

Planet Tyche explains change in path of comets: researchers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2011 2:41 AM CST
Updated Feb 15, 2011 5:29 AM CST
The planet will probably have an atmosphere much like Jupiter's, the scientists say.   (AP Photo/NASA)
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(Newser) – A huge and previously undetected planet lies at the outer edge of the solar system, believe two University of Louisiana astrophysicists. The planet Tyche, a gas giant four times the size of Jupiter, likely lies in the outer Oort cloud—the most remote part of the solar system—and almost certainly has moons, according to John Matese and Daniel Whitmire. They believe Tyche's existence explains a change in the path of comets entering the solar system, the Independent reports.

Tyche has an orbit 15,000 times farther from the sun than the Earth's and is almost certainly made up of hydrogen and helium, according to the scientists. They believe proof of its existence has already been gathered by NASA's Wise space telescope and will emerge when the data is analyzed over the next two years. "If it does, John and I will be doing cartwheels," Whitmire says. "And that's not easy at our age."

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