Scientists, telescope hunt massive hidden object in space
Some scientists think a brown dwarf or gas giant bigger than Jupiter could be at the outer reaches of the solar system. In this image showing relative size, the white object at the upper left edge represents the sun.
February 15th, 2011
09:03 AM ET

Scientists, telescope hunt massive hidden object in space

You know how you sometimes can sense that something is present even though you can't see it? Well, astronomers are getting that feeling about a giant, hidden object in space.

And when we say giant, we mean GIANT.

Evidence is mounting that either a brown dwarf star or a gas giant planet is lurking at the outermost reaches of our solar system, far beyond Pluto. The theoretical object, dubbed Tyche, is estimated to be four times the size of Jupiter and 15,000 times farther from the sun than Earth, according to a story in the British paper The Independent.

Astrophysicists John Matese and Daniel Whitmire from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette think data from NASA's infrared space telescope WISE will confirm Tyche's existence and location within two years.

The presence of such a massive object in the solar system's far-flung Oort Cloud could explain a barrage of comets from an unexpected direction, according to a December article at Space.com.

Its 27 million-year orbit could also explain a pattern of mass extinctions on Earth, scientists say.

Brown dwarfs are cold "failed" stars; their dimness and lack of heat radiation can make them hard to detect. Gas giants are huge planets like Saturn, Jupiter and Neptune that are made up of gases and may lack a solid surface like Earth's.

Whitmire told The Independent that Tyche will probably be composed of hydrogen and helium and have colorful spots, bands and clouds like Jupiter.

"You'd also expect it to have moons," he said. "All the outer planets have them."

Tyche was first hypothesized in 1984 as Nemesis, a dark companion star to the sun. It's been the subject of astronomical research and debate ever since. In July, another Space.com article said the celestial evidence suggests Tyche could not possibly exist.

To distinguish it from the Nemesis star theory, Matese and Whitmire are calling their object Tyche, after the good sister of the goddess Nemesis in Greek mythology.

Their research is published in Icarus, the International Journal of Solar System Studies.

Post by:
Filed under: Science • Space
soundoff (1,170 Responses)
  1. etx

    I am no longer positive where you are getting your information, but great topic. I must spend some time learning much more or figuring out more. Thank you for fantastic info I was searching for this info for my mission.

    April 6, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. MIKE

    Hopefully it will hit the District of Criminality–while they are in session–PLEASE DEAR GOD=PLEASE

    April 26, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. SHrez ShrEet

    good share, thank you

    December 18, 2012 at 1:17 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Milko

    2 years has passed. I'd like to hear some news on this. What's the situation?

    March 7, 2013 at 3:02 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Barry Smith

    Thanks to a man who never changed his findings or beliefs to fit in with the mental giants claiming otherwise....The followers of Zacheria Sitchin already knew of this planets existence. ...surprise oh lofty ones with closed minds and large bank accounts...The truth is out....burger king is always hiring...

    April 7, 2014 at 12:36 am | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.