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, reports Paul Rodgers of the The Independent.
The WISE science team is now sifting through the telescope’s two million images to spot objects that no astronomer has ever seen before. WISE’s most intriguing finds will include mysterious objects called brown dwarfs, blacker-than-coal asteroids, and the Universe’s brightest galaxies. All told, WISE’s data will yield a new picture of the Universe, from our local region to the remotest reaches, and from the distant past to the present.