Scientists Think Massive Planet Could Lurk Far Beyond Pluto

02.15.11 | FL News Team

The solar system may soon have nine planets again but it won't be puny little Pluto. Scientists say they have evidence of a planet  that makes giant Jupiter seem like a pebble.  Britain's "The Independent" is reporting the possible planet already has a name, Tyche. Like Jupiter, it would be a big ball of gas.

Astronomers believe that NASA's space telescope, Wise, has already gathered evidence of the distant planet.  Data will trickle out starting in April so it may take two years to confirm the finding.  Tyche is estimated to be orbiting some 15,000 times farther from the sun than Earth, and 375 times farther than Pluto.

One theory suggests Tyche formed around another star but was pulled into our sun's orbit at the far reaches of the Oort Cloud.  Pluto was stricken from the list of planets after astronomers discovered too many other big space rocks in its neighborhood.  The region became known as the Kuiper Belt, and the Oort Cloud is beyond that.