Two astrophysicists have detected the presence of a possible ninth planet in our solar system. The object is named Tyche after the goddess who determined the fortune and prosperity of cities in Greek mythology. This "super planet" is believed to be four times the size of Jupiter with its own ring bands, clouds, and moons lying deep in the Oort Cloud.
If Tyche is indeed a planet, it is believed to be a gas giant consisting of helium and hydrogen. Data from NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer is currently being analyzed to confirm Tyche's existence, with the first batch of data due to be released in April. The dense mass of Tyche raises the hypothesis of binary star theory, in which Tyche's sibling Nemesis was thought to be responsible for mass extinctions on Earth, possibly due to gravitational flux and electromagnetic interference.
If the existence of Tyche proves true it may overturn a believed scientific theory that suggests that due to the planet's gravitational influence, the "gas giant should dislodge comets from the inner Oort Cloud, but these have not been observed." Time will soon tell if Tyche is an unprecedented anomaly as what makes up our solar system keeps expanding along with our awareness of its intimate inner workings.
Image: "moonsurface2" by eburacum45 on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.