The Solar System Has a Badass New Planet Named Tyche
When the International Astronomical Union demoted Pluto from planet to icy space rock, our solar system lost a spunky outsider with a weird orbit; the perennial underdog. The Independent reports that little Pluto may already have a replacement: a super kickass planet named Tyche who immediately gets invited to the cool table at our Sun's orbital cafeteria. Sorry, Mercury, go eat the ham and cheese your mom packed for you somewhere else, we gotta make room for Tyche.
This is Jupiter; Tyche is Way Cooler than Jupiter (photo via Joshua Bury)
We here at Runnin' Scared will gladly answer all your questions about Tyche, because we're showing it around and have already become, like, best friends.
Where is Tyche?
Tyche has been straight chillin' in the back of class. We're talking the Oort Cloud, the furthest reaches of the solar system; 15,000 times farther from the Sun than Earth. While most planets are trying too hard to be seen within the asteroid belt, Tyche is all, "Did NASA detect me with its recently launched Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer? Whatever, I didn't notice." So cool.
How big is Tyche?
Tyche is gigantic: four times the size of Jupiter. (And everyone knows Jupiter was held back because its parents wanted it to make varsity freshman year).
What does Tyche look like?
According to the Independent, "Tyche will almost certainly be made up mostly of hydrogen and helium and will probably have an atmosphere much like Jupiter's, with colourful spots and bands and clouds." You just know Venus is going to copy that look when it sees all the attention Tyche is getting.
Does it have a moon?
Astrophysicist Daniel Whitmire says, "You'd also expect it to have moons. All the outer planets have them." In other words, "stupid question." Lame-ass Neptune has 13 moons; you really don't think Tyche will have at least one? In fact, Triton will probably break off its retrograde orbit of Neptune to start hanging with Tyche next semester anyway.
Before you get your hopes up, the International Astronomical Union still has to approve Tyche as a planet. Astrophysicists predict we'll know Tyche's exact location in two years. Once that happens, other telescopes will focus on the gas giant to get confirmation that it's the real deal.
Just in time for senior prom.
Up telescope! Search begins for giant new planet [Independent]