These days one must always be prepared for the nature of the universe as we know it to change. While some people are still lamenting the “demotion” of Pluto scientists think there may be a gas giant larger than Jupiter hiding in the Oort Cloud.
If you grew up thinking there were nine planets and were shocked when Pluto was demoted five years ago, get ready for another surprise. There may be nine after all, and Jupiter may not be the largest.
The hunt is on for a gas giant up to four times the mass of Jupiter thought to be lurking in the outer Oort Cloud, the most remote region of the solar system. The orbit of Tyche (pronounced ty-kee), would be 15,000 times farther from the Sun than the Earth’s, and 375 times farther than Pluto’s, which is why it hasn’t been seen so far.
But scientists now believe the proof of its existence has already been gathered by a Nasa space telescope, Wise, and is just waiting to be analysed.
To be honest, I don’t miss Pluto myself. I think it’s cool that there are only eight planets because it means that Gustav Holst’s The Planets is complete again. But another gas giant way, way out there? That would be pretty cool too. And I like that name, Tyche.
In honor of the eight planets, especially Jupiter which might someday be bumped from its honorable position as the largest planet, here is Jupiter. By the way this is not one of my favorite pieces of music but it’s the Planet that I’m most familiar with because they used to play it on the radio once or twice every week. My favorite part begins at about 2:54.