New addition to solar system may be bigger than Jupiter

February 14th, 2011 - 4:42 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 14 (IANS) A new planet in our solar system’s outer reaches could be four times as large as Jupiter, the biggest planet in the system, scientists believe.

Its orbit would be thousands of times further from the Sun than the Earth’s - which explains its obscurity.

The data which could prove the existence of Tyche, a gas giant in the outer Oort Cloud, is set to be released later this year - although some believe proof has already been garnered by NASA with its pace telescope Wise and is waiting to be pored over.

Daniel Whitmire from the University of Louisiana in the US believes the data may prove Tyche’s existence within two years, the Daily Mail reports.

He believes the planet will mainly be made of hydrogen and helium, with an atmosphere like Jupiter’s, with spots and rings and clouds, adding: “You’d also expect it to have moons. All the outer planets have them.”

He and John Matese first suggested Tyche existed because of the angle comets were arriving, with a fifth of the expected number since 1898 entering higher than expected.

If confirmed, the status and name of the new planet - which would become the ninth and potentially the largest - would then have to be agreed by the International Astronomical Union.

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