2012 – Planet X, Nibiru and DarkStar
With director Roland Emmerich’s film 2012 slated for release next month, it seems timely to write my promised article on the history of Planet X.
I promised to do so in my last article which told the story of a letter, supposedly sent from a Norwegian politician to Project Camelot, stating that the Norwegian government had started hording food in underground alien bases in preparation for the Earth’s doomsday rendezvous with Planet X in 2012. My conclusion was that the people behind Project Camelot had concocted this story, tying in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, to bring attention to their misguided cause.
Many books and internet sites claim that in 2012 Planet X, usually identified as Nibiru, will have dramatic effects on the Earth’s weather patterns causing earthquakes, volcanoes, and rising sea levels.
In 2003, Turkish writer Burak Eldem published the book ‘2012: Appointment With Marduk’, which purported to forecast the return of Planet X in that year. Marshall Masters, publisher of the website yowusa.com, has written many works prophesying the end of the world in 2012 following an encounter with Planet X including: “Planet X Forecast and 2012 Survival Guide”.
The History of Planet X
The Wikipedia entry for Planet X offers an excellent history of the concept. From the entry:
Following the discovery of the planet Neptune in 1846, there was considerable speculation that another planet might exist beyond its orbit. The search began in the mid-19th century but culminated at the start of the 20th with Percival Lowell’s quest for Planet X. Lowell proposed the Planet X hypothesis to explain apparent discrepancies in the orbit of the gas giants, particularly Uranus and Neptune, speculating that the gravity of a large unseen planet could have perturbed Uranus enough to account for the irregularities.
Clyde Tombaugh’s discovery of Pluto in 1930 initially appeared to validate Lowell’s hypothesis, and Pluto was considered the ninth planet until 2006. In 1978, however, Pluto was found to be too small for its gravity to affect the gas giants, resulting in a brief search for a tenth planet. The search was largely abandoned in the early 1990s, when a study of measurements made by the Voyager 2 spacecraft found that the irregularities observed in Uranus’s orbit were due to a slight overestimation of Neptune’s mass. After 1992, the discovery of numerous small icy objects within or near Pluto’s orbit led to a debate over whether Pluto should remain a planet, or whether it and its neighbours should, like the asteroids, be given their own separate classification. Although a number of the larger members of this group were initially described as planets, in 2006 the International Astronomical Union reclassified Pluto and its largest neighbours as dwarf planets, leaving only eight planets in the Solar System.
Today, the astronomical community widely agrees that Planet X, as originally envisioned, does not exist. However, the concept of Planet X has been revived by a number of astronomers to explain other anomalies observed in the outer Solar System. In popular culture, and even among some astronomers, Planet X has become a stand-in term for any undiscovered planet in the outer Solar System, regardless of its gravitational effect. Other trans-Neptunian planets have also been suggested, based on different evidence.
It is important to look at the history of Planet X because it lays a foundation in actual scientific research. Then it takes a turn for the non-scientific. Many people claim that the planet has been sighted. Pictures abound on the internet and youtube offers up several videos. Phil Plait (Bad Astronomy) has covered why all of this is nonsense is his articles on Planet X.
Dr. Plait is writing about this supposed 2003 “doomsdate” (did I just coin a phrase?) related to Planet X. I particularly enjoy this bit: Many of the Planet X believers’ starting point to a 1983 Washington Post article about two scientists who supposedly found the planet using the Infrared Astronomy Satellite (IRAS). From Plait’s site: “I did something that never occurred to the doomsayers: I sent an email to the two astronomers asking what happened back in ’83. Gerry Neugebauer replied, and told me the real poop.” Of course, you could always read the scientists’ eventual findings published in the Astrophysical Journal. Spoiler alert: what they saw was gas from our galaxy as well as other distant galaxies. What the scientists had said in the press conference was that the objects observed could be almost anything, from a tenth planet in our solar system to distant galaxies.
Zecharia Sitchin and Nibiru as Planet X
A key figure in the Nibiru/Planet X story is author Zecharia Sitchin. Sitchin wrote a number of books revolving around his interpretations of Sumerian cosmology. According to Sitchin, Nibiru is a planet that follows an elliptical orbit that brings it to the inner solar system every 3,600 years. As the story goes; a second planet also proposed by Sitchin, called Tiamat, was located between Mars and Jupiter.
When struck by one of Planet Nibiru’s moons, Tiamat split in two. On a second pass Nibiru itself struck one half of Tiamat and the broken fragments became the asteroid belt. The other half, struck again by one of Nibiru’s moons, was pushed into a new orbit and became today’s planet Earth.
If that’s not enough, this is where things get weird.
According to Sitchin, ancient Sumerian clay tablets reveal that aliens from Nibiru arrived on Earth 450,000 years ago and created humans to use as slaves in their gold mines by genetically engineering female apes.
Sitchin is important in this story because nearly all of the Planet X theories build on his writing. Honestly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Several sources have detailed information covering Sitchin’s ideas:
And for a more rational look at his ideas, I suggest the following:
The Skeptic’s Dictionary: Zecharia Sitchin and The Earth Chronicles
2003, Planet X and the End of the World
As previously mentioned, 2012 is not the first “doomsdate” (officially coined now) with regard to Planet X. At the heart of the “end of the world in 2003” is Nancy Lieder and her ZetaTalk website.
ZetaTalk is a website started in 1995 by self-proclaimed contactee Nancy Lieder, who claims to channel messages from extra-terrestrials called Zetas from the Zeta Reticuli star system (see Betty and Barney Hill) through an implant in her brain. Lieder states that she was chosen to warn mankind about Planet X, which would sweep through the solar system in May 2003, causing a pole shift that would destroy most of humanity.
The Skeptical Mind does a nice job of pulling ZetaTalk apart: The Grand Conspiracy 1995-2003
Phil Plait also covers the topic: The Planet X Saga – Nancy Liede
Two other prominent players figured into the 2003 date:
Mark Hazlewood appears to have taken many of the concepts and text from ZetaTalk as his own – creating bad blood between him and Lieder. He wrote a book using material from ZetaTalk called “Blightsighted” and made appearances on the Art Bell show. For more information, see an article about Hazlewood at skepticalmind.
James McCanney, who apparently saw the excitement over Planet X, modified his 20 year old theory that comets grow into planets and got on the Planet X bandwagon. A trip through his site will suggest that Mr. McCanney believes some strange things. He sells a few strange things as well. He is a conspiracy theorist of the highest degree.
Phil Plait takes on a few of McCanney’s ideas.
So here we had scientists using the name Planet X as a placeholder (think “Dark Matter”) which is largely considered outdated by current astronomers and then Planet X takes a turn for the unscientific with a misunderstood press conference by two real scientists as proof positive. Then, we have Sitchin’s interpretation of ancient Sumerian mythology with aliens, cosmic collisions and genetic mutation. Lastly we have Lieder claiming to channel warning messages from extraterrestrials about a doomsday in 2003 and Hazlewood and McCanney jumping in with their own takes on the story, packaged and sold in books.
Perhaps it is worthy of note here that nothing globally catastrophic happened in May 2003.
Enter the Mayan calendar. December 21st (or sometimes the 23rd) 2012 has been touted as the newest doomsdate (© Pat Roach, 2009) for just about everything out there. It is the supposed end of the Mayan calendar and therefore apparently predicts the end of the Earth by any one of a number of means – solar event, geomagnetic reversal, alien attack and – of course – Planet X. The end of the Mayan calendar in 2012 has been thoroughly debunked.
Current rehashes of Planet X theories often also cling to a new twist in the Planet X story. Andy Lloyd and DarkStar. In his book by the same name, Lloyd hypothesizes that our Sun is actually part of a binary star system. Lloyd suggests that Darkstar is a brown dwarf or, essentially, a star-like object – too small to ignite. Lloyd suggests that a system of seven moons and this dead star make up the Nibiru of Sitchin’s translations. The odd thing about attaching themselves to the Lloyd’s Darkstar theory is that, despite his wild hypothesis, Lloyd is realistic about the 2012 element of the story. In his review of the book ‘Planet X Forecast and 2012 Survival Guide’ (Jacco van der Worp, Marshall Masters and Jannice Manning) he has this to say:
It’s a bleak picture. I have to ask myself; have the authors sufficiently convinced me that this impending threat is real to take the kind of extreme precautions they recommend?
The answer is no. I’ve written a book on the likely existence of Planet X and I’ve not got a single scrap of evidence that it’s about to appear amongst the more familiar planets during an imminent perihelion passage. In fact, I really can’t see how this would be remotely plausible. Not on any kind of scientific level anyhow, for the same reason that the 2003 Planet X scenario was so easily dismissible: if it’s about to arrive, then ipso facto we already know about it. Not because of what the government let us know, but because of what the amateur astronomers with backyard scopes are aware of. They spot comets, and Planet X would be the mother of all comets already if it was scheduled to arrive in 2012.
And in an email to me he writes:
“Although I have reason to believe in the existence of a substantial Planet X body, in the form of a ‘Nemesis’ type object more massive than Jupiter, I do not believe that such an object is on its way towards the planetary zone for 2012.”
That, and, the gravitational effects of something larger than Jupiter on a near collision course with the earth in 2012 would certainly be noticed. I had one nagging question while researching this topic. Why? The original Planet X, as proposed by scientist, sough to explain observed anomalies in Uranus’s orbit. This was later understood to be a result of an overestimation of Neptune’s mass. The current Planet X stories do not seek to explain anything. It is fearmongering plain and simple.
No Planet X [Universe Today]
Planet X is not Nibiru [Universe Today]