Did We Really Just Discover A New Planet in Our Solar System?

It’s always strange to me how the Hubble Space Telescope brings us pictures of far away places in the universe, and ends up missing something in our own backyard. How is it possible that we’re able to photograph things that are billions of light-years away, but we’re not sure what’s happening in our immediate area?

Well, the answer is really simple. The objects we see in photographs from Hubble are massive; Literally hundreds of thousands of light-years across. On the other hand, the objects in our solar system may be a hell-of-a-lot closer, but they’re substantially smaller by comparison. So while a galaxy may be much further away, its sheer size makes up for the difference in distance. It’s science. It’s like being able to see someone’s house a mile away, but not being able to see an ant on a home right next door. Even though the ant is much closer, it’s still too small to see. So really, it’s not surprising that we could miss a planet in our own backyard, even one as huge as Tyche is thought to be.

In a remote area of our solar system called the Oort Cloud, Tyche is thought to be lurking. The Oort Cloud is the area outside of the area you immediately think of when someone says mentions the solar system. It’s far beyond Pluto, and way past the Kuiper Belt. It’s even far beyond the Heliosphere. To put it in Layman’s terms, it’s pretty god damn far away. So far away that if you were standing on Tyche, you wouldn’t be able to immediately tell what star you were orbiting.

Ok, so we get it? It’s far away.

So anyway, this planet is thought to be around 4 times the size of Jupiter, comprised primarily of hydrogen and helium, and would likely have a few moons orbiting it. Two scientists, John Matese and Daniel Whitmire, claim that they should be able to confirm it’s existence within the next two years. They say the proof has probably already been collected by the NASA telescope “Wise,” and it just needs to be analyzed.

So what will this new planet change?

Well it’s tough to say. There’s the possibility that we’ll be back to 9 planets again, but then again, this is the first planet to be discovered outside the Heliosphere, so it may be a new class of planet altogether. There may also be other, smaller planets in the deep regions of our solar system. The fact is, given this planets estimated size, it’s easy to assume it would be the first one we notice, while an Earth-sized planet may go unnoticed for quite a long time. Basically, if we start focusing more efforts on searching this remote region, we may be opening up a can of worms and find out that there a tons of planets we had never noticed before.

[Source: The Independent ]

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