Tyche is really far out

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This afternoon, I caught a news item about a possible new giant planet orbiting our sun, and that the reason no one had ever really seen it before is because of how far away it orbits. This article from The Independent has a link to a PDF which tries to visualize its distance, but doesn’t really succeed, in my opinion. But since the graphic had the number values of Astronomical Unit distances of various planets, I decided to give it a shot myself.

To fully appreciate this, you need to click it to see it at 100% full size, and make sure your browser isn’t scaling it down to fit your browser window. What you’re looking at is a representation of the orbit paths for Pluto and Tyche. On the left is a small circle representing Pluto’s orbit at just 40 AUs from the sun. The tiny gray dot inside Pluto’s orbit was originally circles I drew for the orbits of several planets, including Earth. I had to reduce this graphic so much to show Tyche’s orbit, all those planets smushed into a quad of four gray pixels.

On the right is the orbit path of Tyche at a whopping fifteen thousand AUs from the sun. We all grew up thinking the distance from the sun to Pluto was all but immeasurable. Travel that same distance 375 times, and you’ve got the distance of Tyche’s orbit!

Assuming, of course, the existence of Tyche is proven to be true.

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