Sunday, December 5, 2010

Giant Stealth Planet May Explain Rain of Comets from Solar System's Edge

Diagram showing the position of the Oort Cloud. Credit: Southwest Research Institute

By Charles Q. Choi
December 1, 2010

Our sun may have a companion that disturbs comets from the edge of the solar system — a giant planet with up to four times the mass of Jupiter, researchers suggest.

A NASA space telescope launched last year may soon detect such a stealth companion to our sun, if it actually exists, in the distant icy realm of the comet-birthing Oort cloud, which surrounds our solar system with billions of icy objects.

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