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2012: No Planet X

Will Planet X cause mayhem in 2012? Nope.
Apparently, Planet X (a.k.a. Nibiru) was spotted by astronomers in the early 1980’s in the outermost reaches of the Solar System. It has been tracked by infrared observatories; seen lurking around in the Kuiper Belt and now it is speeding right toward us and will enter the inner Solar System in 2012. So what does this mean to us? Well, the effects of the approach of Planet X on our planet will be biblical, and what’s more the effects are being felt right now. Millions, even billions of people will die, global warming will increase; earthquakes, drought, famine, wars, social collapse, even killer solar flares will be caused by Nibiru blasting through the core of the Solar System. All of this will happen in 2012, and we must begin preparing for our demise right now…

As investigated in my previous article “No Doomsday in 2012“, a lot of weight had been placed on the end of an ancient Mayan calendar, the “Long Count”. According to this calendar and Mayan myth, something is going to happen on December 21st, 2012. Now the world’s Planet X supporters seem to have calculated that this hypothetical, deadly planet will arrive from a highly eccentric orbit to wreak gravitational havoc on Earth, sparking geological, social, economic and environmental damage, killing a high proportion of life… in 2012.

Related 2012 articles:

I’m sorry, but the “facts” behind the Planet X/Nibiru myth simply do not add up. Don’t worry, Planet X will not be knocking on our door in 2012 and here’s why…

Nibiru and Planet X
The planet Neptune - could its orbital deviations reveal Planet X (NASA)

In 1843, John Couch Adams (a British mathematician and astronomer) studied the orbital perturbations of Uranus and deduced that through gravitational interactions, there must be an eighth planet, tugging at the gas giant. This led to the discovery of Neptune, orbiting at a distance of 30AU from the Sun. There have been numerous occasions where this method has been used to deduce the existence of other bodies in the Solar System before they were directly observed.

Neptune was also experiencing orbital perturbations, and on the discovery of Pluto in 1930, it was thought that the aptly named “Planet X” had been discovered. Alas, Pluto’s mass was tiny, and once the orbit of Charon (Pluto’s moon) was analysed it was found that the mass of the Pluto-Charon system was far too small to affect the orbit of Neptune. The hunt for Planet X continued…

After years of speculation and historic research, it was believed that a huge body astronomers were looking for was a huge planet or a small star, possibly a companion to our Sun (making the Solar System a binary system). The name “Nibiru” was unearthed by the author Zecharia Sitchin, on researching the possible intervention of extraterrestrials in the early history of mankind. Nibiru is a hypothetical planet as taught in ancient Sumerian culture (the Sumerians existed from around 6,000BC to 3,000BC, predating Babylon, in the current geographic location of Iraq). There is very little archaeological evidence to suggest this mythical planet has anything to do with Planet X. But since this dubious connection, Planet X and Nibiru are now thought by doomsayers to be the same thing, an ancient astronomical body that has returned after a long orbit beyond the Solar System.

OK, so the Nibiru/Planet X connection might be a bit ropey already, but is there any solid evidence for the modern-day Planet X?

Infrared observations = Planet X
A popular image on Planet X websites. Is this Planet X, or is it simply a young galaxy? (NASA - possible source)
There is much emphasis placed on the 1983 “discovery” of a mysterious heavenly body by NASA’s Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) on the outskirts of the Solar system, some 50 billion miles (540 AU) away. Naturally the world’s media will have been very excited by such a discovery and began making noises that perhaps this was Planet X (the most popular accessible resources for Planet X advocates is the Washington Post article published on December 31st 1983 titled “Mystery Heavenly Body Discovered“). In actuality, astronomers weren’t sure what the infrared object was (the clue is in the word “mystery”). Initial media reports postulated that it could be a long-period comet, or a planet, or a far-off young galaxy or a protostar (i.e. a brown dwarf). As soon as the last possibility is mentioned, suddenly this became the “discovery” that Planet X was in fact a brown dwarf orbiting in the outer reaches of our Solar System.

So mysterious is the object that astronomers do not know if it is a planet, a giant comet, a nearby “protostar” that never got hot enough to become a star, a distant galaxy so young that it is still in the process of forming its first stars or a galaxy so shrouded in dust that none of the light cast by its stars ever gets through.” – Thomas O’Toole, Washington Post Staff Writer, December 30th 1983 (from text on the Planet X and Pole Shift website)

So where did the Washington Post get its story? The story was published in response to the research printed a paper titled “Unidentified point sources in the IRAS minisurvey” (by Houck et al, published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, 278:L63, 1984). Dr. Gerry Neugebauer, co-investigator in the IRAS project, was interviewed and strongly stated that what IRAS had seen was not “incoming mail” (i.e. the results did not suggest there was an object approaching Earth). On reading this interesting research, I was especially drawn to the paper’s conclusion:

A number of candidate identifications have been considered including near-solar system, galactic, and extragalactic objects. Further observations at infrared and other wavelengths may provide additional information in support of one of these conjectures, or perhaps these objects will require entirely different interpretations.” – Houck et al, Astrophysical Journal Letters, 278:L63, 1984.

Although these IRAS observations were seeing mysterious objects, at this stage, there was no indication that there was an object (let alone a brown dwarf) powering its way toward us. But the rumours had already begun to flow. When follow-up papers were published in 1985 (Unidentified IRAS sources – Ultrahigh-luminosity galaxies, Houck et al., 1985) and 1987 (The IRAS View of the Extragalactic Sky, Soifer et al., 1987), there was little if any media interest in their findings. According to these publications, most of the IRAS observations in the 1984 paper were distant, ultra-luminous young galaxies and one was a filamentary structure known as “infrared cirrus” floating in intergalactic space. IRAS never observed any astronomical body in the outer reaches of the Solar System.

Orbital perturbations = Planet X
The bodies in the Kuiper Belt (Don Dixon)
In addition to the 1983 “discovery” of the Planet X brown dwarf, the 1992 Planet X claim goes something like this: “Unexplained deviations in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune point to a large outer solar system body of 4 to 8 Earth masses, on a highly tilted orbit, beyond 7 billion miles from the sun,” – text from an un-cited NASA source on the “Planet X Forecast and 2012 Survival Guide” video.

Pulling up the discovery of planets using orbital perturbation measurements, Planet X advocates point to a NASA announcement that in 1992, there were indirect measurements of a planet some 7 billion miles from Earth. Alas, I cannot find the original source for this claim. The only huge discovery NASA announced along these lines was the discovery of the first major trans-Neptunian object (TNO) called 1992 QB1 (full details of the discovery of this “cubewano-class” object can be found in the original announcement transcript). It has a diameter of 200km and is confined to the Kuiper Belt, a zone of minor planets (where Pluto lives) and asteroids from 30AU to 55AU, just outside Neptune’s orbit. Some of these bodies (like Pluto) cross the path of Neptune’s orbit and there therefore designated as a TNO. These TNO’s pose no threat to the Earth (in as much as they wont be leaving the Kuiper Belt to pay us a visit in 2012).

Since then, any Neptune orbital perturbations have been put down to observational error and have since not been observed… so there doesn’t appear to be any obvious object any bigger than the largest Kuiper Belt objects out there. Still, to keep an open mind, there could be more large bodies to be discovered (that might explain why there is such a steep drop-off of Kuiper Belt objects at the “Kuiper Cliff”, the jury is out on that idea), but there is no evidence for a massive body approaching from the vicinity of the Kuiper Belt. Even the strange Pioneer anomaly that the Pioneer and Voyager probes are experiencing cannot be attributed to Planet X. This anomaly appears to be a Sun-ward acceleration, if there was a massive planet out there, there should be some gravitational effect beyond what has been predicted by the other known objects in the Solar System.

4-8 Earth masses = a brown dwarf? It must be Planet X.
Brown dwarfs are 15-80 times the mass of Jupiter (NASA)
Probably the most glaring inconsistency in the Planet X hypothesis is the Planet X advocates assertion that the 1984 IRAS object and the 1992 body are one of the same thing. As announced on many websites and online videos about Planet X, the 1984 IRAS observation saw Planet X at 50 billion miles from Earth. The 1992 NASA “announcement” put Planet X at a distance of about 7 billion miles from Earth. Therefore, the logic goes, Planet X had travelled 43 billion miles in the course of only eight years (from 1984 to 1992). After some dubious mathematics, Planet X is therefore expected to reach the core of the Solar System in 2012. (Although many believed it should arrive in 2003… they were obviously wrong about that prediction.)

Well, I think we might be clutching at straws here. For starters, for the 1984 object to be the same as the 1992 object, surely they should be the same mass? If Planet X was a brown dwarf (as we are led to believe in the IRAS observations), how can it possibly weigh in at only 4 to 8 Earth masses eight years later? Brown dwarfs have a mass of around 15-80 Jupiter masses. As Jupiter is about 318 Earth masses, surely the object hurtling toward us should have a mass of somewhere between 4,770 and 25,440 Earth masses? So I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I reckon the 1984 object and the 1992 object (if either object actually existed that is) are not the same thing. Not by a very long shot.

If there is no evidence supporting Planet X, it must be a conspiracy
If it can be this easy to cast the fundamental “scientific” theory behind Planet X into doubt, I see little point in discussing the historical reasons (mass extinctions, volcanic activity, earthquakes etc.) as to why the doomsayers believe Planet X should exist. If there is no renegade planet out there of significant mass, how can Nibiru be a threat to us in 2012?

They will have us believe there is a global conspiracy of international governments hiding the facts from us. NASA is involved in the cover-up, hence the lack of evidence. In my opinion, simply because there is no evidence, doesn’t mean there is a conspiracy to hide the truth from the public. So why would governments want to hide a “discovery” as historic as a doomsday planet approaching the inner Solar System anyway? To avoid mass panic and pursue their own, greedy agendas (obviously).

As it turns out, this is the only strength behind the Planet X myth. When confronted with scientific facts, the Planet X advocates reply with “…governments are sending out disinformation and covering up the true observations of Nibiru.” Although I enjoy a good conspiracy theory, I will not support anything in the name of Planet X. If the basic science behind what we are led to believe are the foundation of Planet X existing is wrong, it seems a poor argument to say “the government did it”.

Therefore, the story that Planet X will arrive in 2012-21-December is, in my view, total bunkum (but it helps to sell doomsday books and DVDs by scaring people). Nibiru will remain in the realms of Sumerian myth.

Sources: No Tenth Planet Yet From IRAS, Surviving 2012 and Planet X (Video), The SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System, New Scientist, IRAS, Planet X and Pole Shift

Here’s information on the 2012 comet, 2012 doomsday

Leading image credits: MIT (supernova simulation), NASA/JPL (extrasolar planet). Effects and editing: myself.

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Hello! My name is Ian O'Neill and I've been writing for the Universe Today since December 2007. I am a solar physics doctor, but my space interests are wide-ranging. Since becoming a science writer I have been drawn to the more extreme astrophysics concepts (like black hole dynamics), high energy physics (getting excited about the LHC!) and general space colonization efforts. I am also heavily involved with the Mars Homestead project (run by the Mars Foundation), an international organization to advance our settlement concepts on Mars. I also run my own space physics blog: Astroengine.com, be sure to check it out!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Fraser Cain November 19, 2008, 9:14 AM

    Because of the huge number of comments on this article, I’ve had to move all the comments to a new thread. You can access it here and continue the conversation.

    http://www.universetoday.com/2008/11/19/comments-for-2012-no-planet-x/

  • Gary Leggiere May 11, 2011, 5:50 PM

    Then how do you feel NOW about that, in May 2011? An object is entering our inner solar system now. Called a COMET ELANIN or something like that. It’s effects felt from 6 au was apparent to our Earth. Earthquakes, psunami’s etc. Now according to a jpl model of this comet track, it holds an orbit like described by Sitchin regards to Nibiru’s orbit. September, October, November is said to be closet to Earth, at not even 1 au!!! .4-6 or something like that. IS THIS THE SAME OBJECT OBSERVED ALMOST 30 YEARS AGO?? NASA claims it is a comet, yet it looks to be much larger. It is said by models that our earth will pass through the tail of this passing through world as it slingshots from our inner solar system. Making the Earth an obvious target for the asteroids & debris trailing this COMET! WHY THE DECEPTION????? WE HAVE BEEN SCREWED!!

    • Torbjörn Larsson May 14, 2011, 4:40 PM

      No such effects are in evidence-

    • IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE May 14, 2011, 4:56 PM

      When I press the link on your name, which is supposed to lead to a Google profile, I get an image of a broken robot and a “404. That’s is an error” message.

      Yep, enough said!

    • Craigus May 18, 2011, 3:06 PM

      Oh please “Sitchin” the same Sitchin who wrote the books about Nibaru?? The same Sitchin whose very theory is based on a civilization {the surmarians,} that understood basically nothing about cosmology? Grasped not a shred of difference between the stars and planets?? The same Sitchin who in my honest opinion as an amateur astronomer and cosmologist- is full of pseudo science bullshit?? That guy?? Really..?? Do yourself a favour – read REAL scientific papers and books! Josh Collins – Starseekers {1984} is a very good start then you can move onto more recent works like Universe In a Nutshell by Stephen Hawkings.. You know that little known feller in the chair? But of course this would be EDUCATING you so don’t bother.. Believe your fairy tales if you want.. bye

    • Trevor Allen Reiff May 21, 2011, 8:26 PM

      hahahahahahhahahahahah.

    • Trevor Allen Reiff May 21, 2011, 8:26 PM

      hahahahahahhahahahahah.

  • christopher cuizon May 12, 2011, 12:18 AM

    this is way scary

    can i repost this?

    • Torbjörn Larsson May 14, 2011, 4:39 PM

      It *is* scary that people entertain such ludicrous notions without any shred of evidence.

  • luis lopez May 12, 2011, 5:07 PM

    This is too scary and the worst part is that all this stuff all ties together and makes it seem even more surreal, I don’t know but we better prepare for the worst.

  • grace May 14, 2011, 1:54 AM

    thank you for your very informative article, I am against end times date setting, I am 100% sure that the earth will not end in 2012. The Bible did not predict sudden destruction of the world but a progressive one. Taking the Bible as an accurate divine Book, the Lord Jesus himself predicted a future cosmos/planetary disturbance that will cause great chaos and catastrophe on earth ( earthquakes-tsunamis,etc ), The Lord declares in Luk 21:25-26 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
    Luk 21:26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers( gravitational forces ) of heavens( cosmos ) shall be shaken( disturbed ).

    So it is very clear, that in the near future ( no specific date ) a great cosmos/planetary disturbance will occur, it will affect the sun,moon,stars, and earth- this great news event cannot be hidden from the world, as a result men’s heart faints as they expect those things to come on earth. Interestingly, the Bible gives a specific future event of a star-comet hitting the ocean and killing many people ” Rev 8:10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; Rev 8:11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

    • Torbjörn Larsson May 14, 2011, 4:46 PM

      This is a site for science and discussions of science. Religious ideas has nothing to do with that, and if you had read the article you would have noted that it has evidence against such ideas (the summerian reference).

      Please take your ridiculous rigmarole elsewhere, where it can be appreciated for what it not is.

      • Tyler French May 21, 2011, 8:51 PM

        This article has evidence against planet x not the sumerian religion.it also has just as much to do with religion as it does science.it may be mainly a science article but when you have a article about a religious planet whether its science oriented or not religion does get tied in.

    • IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE May 14, 2011, 5:36 PM

      It also states in Luke 21:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

      So, according to that verse, the “Lord Jesus himself” says that all that he describes — his return, signs in the Sun, the Moon, and the stars, etc. — will occur within the lifetime of his listeners.

      Like, er… that was nearly two thousand years ago! So, is Jebus (sicrunning a bit late, or what?

    • Trevor Allen Reiff May 21, 2011, 8:23 PM

      religion and science are two totally different things yes. but in some way shape or form they can be connected to one another to a certain extent. but idk. logic or faith. you choose which one you want to believe and don’t criticize those who choose to believe other things. but their is actually a religion that bases its theories purely off science. very interesting actually :) but everyone. don’t worry so much. everything will be okay. and we’ll live long happy lives.. lol! cause i believe the destruction of man-kind, will be caused by man-kind.

    • Trevor Allen Reiff May 21, 2011, 8:23 PM

      religion and science are two totally different things yes. but in some way shape or form they can be connected to one another to a certain extent. but idk. logic or faith. you choose which one you want to believe and don’t criticize those who choose to believe other things. but their is actually a religion that bases its theories purely off science. very interesting actually :) but everyone. don’t worry so much. everything will be okay. and we’ll live long happy lives.. lol! cause i believe the destruction of man-kind, will be caused by man-kind.

      • Tyler French May 21, 2011, 8:42 PM

        This guy is exactly right

        • Robert Crowell May 21, 2011, 11:46 PM

          yea i agree world war 3 is the best end of the world theory cause that makes the most sense. Also to the comment about sumer and the religious comment. It was not saying that it was religious it was calling it a religious heavenly body because well that is what ancient civilizations believed about the cosmos. It was mentioned in this scientific approach to this subject because it shows that an ancient society believed and referenced what was believed to have been seen in the IRAS. Also, the people that keeps referencing the bible needs to rethink referencing a historical fiction. The bible in all cases were not written by a primary source but all secondary resources that were over a hundred years after the fact in all accounts. The new testament as well as most christian belief is based off of a polytheistic belief in Rome. It was to unite the pagans and the christians who were destroying the holy roman empire. The old testament was written down in Babylon after being conquered and if i recall hundreds of years after the exodus from egypt meaning that it is not factual and is highly embellished because if telephone doesn’t work with ten people in 5 mins how would it would with hundreds of people over hundreds of years. So if your going to comment please comment with something that can be supported by empirical data not some history, none of which supported any of the first few books of the old testament.

  • Verena Cao May 14, 2011, 2:36 AM

    lets pray that all this stuff about planet x hitting our earth in 2012 is just a myth. :((

    • Trevor Allen Reiff May 21, 2011, 8:19 PM

      its not suppose to hit ! its just suppose to orbit around the planet. causing polar shifts. solar flares and astronomical damage to the earth. earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis and such. but dont worry bout it. live life. and be happy :D

      • Tyler French May 21, 2011, 8:56 PM

        hes right theres nothing we can do but go on as normal.what will happen will happen whether a dead guy raptures christians which i think is selfish or we find out were aliens.either way theres nothing we can do.

  • Koowie May 14, 2011, 4:24 PM

    Will Planet X be the reason Earth will be in doomsday October 21st? :)

    • Tyler French May 21, 2011, 8:46 PM

      you are joking right you dont even know its december 21 lol

  • aniket sharma May 15, 2011, 5:57 AM

    Its not real….stop being deluded and please for fuck sake realize that religion by it self is just a fear induced control over society.I’t should have been perceived as a way of life, not a prophecy from a story they made up, to help you understand the most efficient way to live.

  • Kong May 16, 2011, 5:54 PM

    We don’t know what’s going to happen but only know what is happening presently. Lots of weird weather that we’ve never seen before… and at a increase rate. Don’t know what but something is happening.

    • IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE May 16, 2011, 6:24 PM

      That’s most likely due to Global Warming; it is nothing to do with bloody “Planet X”!

    • IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE May 16, 2011, 6:24 PM

      That’s most likely due to Global Warming; it is nothing to do with bloody “Planet X”!

      • Tyler French May 21, 2011, 8:44 PM

        global warming has more evidence against than for it.If u do a lot of research you will see.

        • IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE May 21, 2011, 11:27 PM

          You’re the one making that assertion; therefore, the onus is on you to provide the links to the ‘evidence’ that you claim.

    • IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE May 16, 2011, 6:24 PM

      That’s most likely due to Global Warming; it is nothing to do with bloody “Planet X”!

  • andrew obrien May 17, 2011, 1:08 AM

    I say it is just a myth dont worry ok

  • mSAg May 18, 2011, 9:37 PM

    {will occur within the lifetime of his listeners} yes, only God himself knows when the world will end, men can come with conclusion, expectations, myths, theories etc.. but no one really knows, and if we do happen to die, oh well that the whole point is in it? you live you die, no one lives forever, and if you do end up living forever, well God must have his reasons. But no one should be scare of dying. People fear death for alot of reasons, for example fear, suffer, pain, lonely, no one carring, etc. even the word Death is scary or even the topic. But eventually we will all die.

    • Tyler French May 20, 2011, 9:45 PM

      y is there a christian in a sumerion planet article.keep your religious cover up comments to yourself.

      • victor hugo flores May 23, 2011, 4:28 AM

        hahahahah no religious cover up Tyler, only a person speaking his mind and you showing your fears.
        if you have anything to say against people with beliefs, good, but unless what you have to say has a real meaning, please don´t say a thing, you make a fool of yourself by doing that.

  • Josh May 20, 2011, 5:28 PM

    You all are idiots, we worry about something you cant stop? and besides believing in god endeing the world is like believing in Planet X, there is no facts to be seen. So stop speculating about the end and have fun

    • victor hugo flores May 23, 2011, 4:24 AM

      hahahahah, talk for yourself in the idiot part bro, I for one, am aware that there are things only a higher power can deal with, call it what you like, I am a christian and I really don´t worry for stuff that you well said I can´t stop, so I live my life the way I want to, according to what I believe in, therefore, have fun your way, I´ll have fun my way, in the end if we all die, we will meet again in the afterlife and if we don´t we might still be living our life the way we choose to.

  • asoldierswife May 22, 2011, 7:30 PM

    Did anyone actually read this…..or any of the other supporting information that states that the Myan Calendar kind of just runs out because it just restarts and there is simply no reason to assume that there is any reason to think that there will be an end of the world because it says so on the internet?

    Imagine if the internet were not available to spread this viral information….do you think you would freak out because you saw it on the front page of the Enquirer? I mean the world did not end yesterday did it? And yet you live your life in fear of the next doomsday prediction….get a life and live it, when the time comes you can’t stop it so get over it and live your life…..

    I enjoy reading the information that counters it because I get so fed up with people sending me stuff trying to convince me that I’m wrong because I won’t drink the koolaid…..

    Stop staring at the glass and dump it out…life it too short to worry about this stuff!

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