Tyche (read: ty-kee), is the (possibly) newest planet discovery made by two scientists using NASA’S Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) telescope. It was found in the Oort Cloud on the edge of the solar system, lurking behind the planet formerly known as Pluto, in what appears to be the galaxy’s hardest game of hide-and-seek to date.
I knew I should have suspected something when Tyche told me to count to 5.6 billion. Olly olly oxen free!
The two astrophysicists who found the giant, Daniel Whitmire and John Matese, hail from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. They expect the first batch of data on Tyche to be released around April, and hope that the planet will reveal itself in about two years. Some scientists, however, are not so excited, and doubt the existence of the planet— apparently, the hunt for Tyche has been on since 1999.
Once the huge, hydrogen/helium entity can be more closely pinpointed, it will be up to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to decide whether it can be classified as a planet or not. It’s possible Tyche may have been formed around a different star and then captured by our Sun’s gravitational field, which apparently is a deal breaker. I’m sure you all remember a few years back when Pluto was demoted from planet to mere Kuiper Belt object— that’s like going from Varsity Football player to Chess Club cheerleader.
If proved to be right about Tyche’s existence, then I guess it’s true what they say, “It’s always in the last place you look.” Speaking of, can one of you astrophysicists check the most remote part of the solar system for my keys?