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article imageAre scientists coming closer to discovering planet Tyche?

By Andrew Moran     Feb 17, 2011 in Science
Lafayette - Researchers are stating that there could be another planet within our solar system. The planet is four times the size of planet Jupiter and is named after the Greek goddess Tyche. But some are saying that it's not there.
Another planet in our solar system is the latest theory in the science community. It’s not the famous Planet X, or Nibiru, that has led some to believe it will collide into Earth in 2012. It’s also not Pluto, which was demoted to a dwarf planet a few years ago. It’s a humongous planet.
Two astrophysicists and professors at the University of Louisiana, John Matese and Daniel Whitmire, are theorizing that a planet may exist in the outer edges of our solar system, according to United Press International. The planet would be four times the size of Jupiter made of hydrogen and helium and is 15,000 times farther from the sun.
Tyche, named after the ancient Greek goddess who decided the fates of cities, was originally hypothesized in 1999 by the duo. The theory is based on the fact that long-period comets within the Oort cloud (a spherical cloud of comets about one light-year away from the sun) show orbital irregularities.
“There's evidence that some Oort cloud comets display orbital peculiarities,” said Matese, in an interview with Fox News. “We're saying that perhaps the pattern is indicative that there's a planet there. It's possible that it's a statistical fluke, but that likelihood has lessened as more data has accumulated in the past 10 years.”
CNN reports that the planet could have moons, or satellites, because all of the outer planets consist of them. “You'd also expect it to have moons,” said Whitmire.
If the two are correct in their theory, then our solar system would return to nine planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and, if true, Tyche).
But some are not so optimistic in this theory.
In an interview with Discovery News, principal investigator for NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission, Ned Wright, said that the research is based on “ordinary evidence for an extraordinary claim.”
“Matese and Whitmire have recently extended the mass range of their prediction down to [the mass of Jupiter] and that is getting a bit hard for WISE to detect at 0.5 light-years from Earth, so we will have to do a careful analysis of lots of faint sources to be sure we haven't missed something,” said Wright. “It should take another couple of years before we can be sure.”
V838 Mon  a star with an expanding gas shell  purported as photographic evidence of Nibiru
V838 Mon, a star with an expanding gas shell, purported as photographic evidence of Nibiru
UCLA professor, Dave Jewitt, also doesn’t buy into the theory. He notes that there are constant claims every few years or so behind comet clustering. “This claim is based on the statistics of comet arrivals and the argument that there is an unexpected concentration of comets that results from an unseen planet far beyond the planetary region.”
This latest theory comes as researchers have presented another theory, involving a disruption in our galaxy in the next billion years.
According to, astronomical detectives calculated approximately 40,000 low-mass M-dwarf stars and concluded that 18 of them may come dangerously close into our solar system and it may or may not cause significant chaos.
“The probability of an M dwarf running into the sun is essentially zero,” said Pennsylvania State University study lead author, John Bochanski. “But if one just came close, it could still cause comet showers."
More about Tyche, Solar system, Planet, Dwarf, Jupiter
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