Jupiter sized asteroid throwing planet discovered???

3d_solar_system_screensaver2NASA scientists have been recently discussing a rather odd theory...

It seems that there is a cap of scientists in NASA that believe there may be a giant planet- up to four times the mass of Jupiter- may be lurking on the other side of the solar system throwing asteroids at us...

The theory goes that our Sun may have a companion that disturbs comets from the edge of the solar system — a giant planet with up to four times the mass of Jupiter, researchers suggest.  It’s theorized that the object may be some 30,000 astrological units from the Sun [Fun fact: An "astrological unit" is the distance between the Earth and the Sun (roughly 2suns93 million miles).], making the planet so cold that it would have been difficult for us to see it with our current technology.

But not for long...

A NASA space telescope launched last year may soon detect such a stealth companion, if it actually exists, in the distant icy realm of the comet-birthing Oort cloud, which surrounds our solar system with billions of icy objects.

nemesis1In order to insure that no one goes confusing this theorized world hanging out at the edge of the Universe is not confused with Nemesis- the mythical dwarf star that is believed to be behind the various extinction events on our planet- that two astrophysicists, John Matese and Daniel Whitmire at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, have taken it upon themselves to name the planet Tyche, after the good sister of the goddess Nemesis in Greek mythology. It also happened to be a name proposed by scientists working on NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope, the very telescope needed to prove that Tyche in fact exists.

Duck, dodge, dive, and dodge...

Scientists have believed for quite some time that asteroids enter our solar system by way of the Oork cloud- a mess of massive space rocks and ice balls hanging out in the outskirts of our solar system.

earth_impactQuestion was, why...

For centuries, astronomers have theorized that the constant bombardment of our solar systems with asteroids out of the Oork cloud was being caused by a planet with a very high volume.  Two centuries of observations have indicated an anomaly that suggests the existence of Tyche, Matese said. "The probability that it could be caused by a statistical fluke has remained very small," he added.

The pull of Tyche might also explain why the dwarf planet Sedna has such an unusually elongated orbit, the researchers added.

If Tyche existed, it would probably be very cold, roughly minus 100 degrees F (-73 degrees C), they said, which could explain why it has escaped detection for so long — its coldness means that it would not radiate any heat scientists could easily spot, and its distance from any star means it would not reflect much light.

space"Most planetary scientists would not be surprised if the largest undiscovered companion was Neptune-sized or smaller, but a Jupiter-mass object would be a surprise," Matese told SPACE.com. "If the conjecture is indeed true, the important implications would relate to how it got there — touching on the early solar environment — and how it might have affected the subsequent distributions of comets and, to a lesser extent, the known planets."

But only if it is proven that Tyche indeed does exist...

Within the next few months we will get closer to divining the answer... 

early-earth-ocean-moon-asteroids-art-desk-1024If the WISE team was lucky, it caught evidence for the Tyche solar companion twice before the space observatory's original mission ended in October. That could be enough to corroborate the object's existence within a few months as researchers analyze WISE's data.

But even if WISE detected signs of Tyche only once (or not at all), researchers would have to wait years for other telescopes to confirm or deny the potential solar companion's existence, Matese said.

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