Posted: Feb 16, 2011 10:55 PM by Jim Hummel
Updated: Feb 17, 2011 7:08 AM
Two astrophysicists at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette say they may have found evidence of a ninth planet in the solar system.
"We've predicted it, but we're not the one's looking for it," said professor Dan Whitmire.
Whitmire and his colleague, Dr. John Matese first discovered the evidence 12 years ago, but say now they have more data to back their claims. They've been studying a remote area at the edge of the solar system called the Oort cloud, which is a collection of space debris, including comets. They say about 20% of the comets have abnormal orbits, which suggest interference from a large mass.
"We explain this in terms of a giant planet, about one to four times the mass of Jupiter," said Whitmire.
Whether it exists or not, the planet is known as Tyche. Whitmire and Matese say their data will be compared with information from NASA and a satellite telescope known as Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). They say within two years their notion should be falsified or verified, and if they're right: "We'll be very excited," Whitmere exclaimed.