Sun’s Hidden Sister?

Giant Planet or a
Speck of Stardust?

Just in time for another solar flares cycle, comes news that a giant gas planet may be hidden in the outskirts of our solar planet. But the possibility that there’s such a hidden heavenly body, which was quickly named Tyche, for the Greek goddess of good fortune, was only implied by University of Louisiana astronomers John Matese and Dan Whitmire
In fact their study is only the latest of a series of attempts going back a few hundred years, trying to explain deviations in the orbit of known giants of the solar system, and the trajectory of some comets that cross earth’s own orbit. Even recently downgraded-to-dwarf-planet Pluto was once thought of as a much bigger planet causing interferences that proved to be unfounded.
What may have had a bigger impact in the news this time around is the fact that if such planet really exists, its mass would be up to four times that of Jupiter. Lying in the Oort cloud, it would orbit a trillion miles from the Sun, or more than a thousand times more distant than Pluto, with expected moons to boot.
One thing is for sure: the issue won’t be put to rest until astronomers study the data already collected by NASA’s space telescope Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), which is expected to happen this year. Until then, the planet’s existence will surely be a source of heated discussions in the scientific community. It’ll be either one of the greatest space discoveries of the century, or a deflating statistical fluke.

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