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The Search for Planet X / Planet 9 / Nibiru


It’s the end of the world as we know it…
again. In the last few weeks the tabloids and conspiracy theorists have been busy
with yet another dire prediction that Nirbiru aka Planet X or Planet nine will trigger
earthquakes, floods and generally the end of the world. This time it was meant to
be on November 19th but as you can see we’re all still here.
The problem here is that Planet X, Planet 9 and Nibiru are often used to
describe the same phenomena of the thoroughly debunked theory first put
forward by Nancy Lieder in 1995 that a planet-sized object which she called
Planet X and about four times the size of the earth on a highly elliptical
orbit would pass close by to the earth in 2003 and its gravitational effects
would effectively destroy the earth. This theory has been respun to try and fit
the end of the last cycle in the Mayan calendar in 2012 and more recently to
biblical passages with its effects said to occur on the 23rd of September 2017
and then November 19th 2017. The mysterious Nibiru which has never been
seen by any serious astronomers, NASA or ESA
let alone had its orbits plotted has also mutated from a physics defying
planet to now a brown dwarf just beyond the edge of our solar system. Again
nothing has ever been seen and more importantly no gravitational effects
noted that match its description. If it were to be that close to the earth we
would all see it in the sky and not in some dodgy photographic anomalies or
30-year old satellite data. But the term Planet X is a real one and was first
used by the astronomer Percival Lowell in 1906 to describe what was thought to
be a missing planet which was causing irregularities seen in the orbits of
Uranus and Neptune. Lowell proposed that the missing planet would be about seven
times the mass of the earth and about 43 AU or six point four billion kilometres
from sun. Although Lowell searched in vain until his death in 1916 he never found his planet X. The search for a missing planet
resumed in 1929 when 22 year-old Clyde Tombaugh joined Lowell Observatory
Tombaugh’s job was to photograph sections of a night sky taking two images of the
same area two weeks apart and then using a blink comparator he was able to see if
there was any difference between them. This would show up any objects such as a planet as a moving object against the star background. After looking at about
two million stars over one and a half years Tombaugh saw a moving object not
far from the location where Lowell had predicted it should be. This new planet
was called Pluto and the search for Planet X was over, or so they thought.
Barely a month had passed since Pluto was discovered when further observations cast doubt on Pluto being Planet X. Firstly there was no visible disc that
would been expected when looking at a planet, secondly it was very dark it was
more like a distant star than a planet something that was rather strange for an
object that should be large enough to affect the orbits of Uranus and Neptune,
this meant that it was either a darkest planet yet discovered or it was very
small and thirdly it had an elliptical orbit slightly inclined against the
solar plane much more like that of a comet or an asteroid. Over the next
almost fifty years further observations and calculations downgraded Pluto’s mass
from seven times that of the earth which Lowell had assumed, to around north 0.1
times that of the earth. By 1978 astronomer James W. Christie observed
Pluto’s moon Charon. By measuring Charon’s orbit around Pluto it was
possible to accurately work out that Pluto was about 1/500th of mass of
the earth, far too small to be Planet X. When Voyager 2 visited Neptune in 1989
the measurements it sent back showed that Neptune was smaller in mass than
was first thought when. JPL reran the ephemeris calculations on the orbits of
Uranus and Neptune with the new data the earlier discrepancies disappeared along
with the need for a Planet X to account for them. Even just after Pluto’s
discovery in the 1930s there were calls from some astronomers but it should not
be called a planet, it was just too small and in 2006 it was officially downgraded to
a dwarf planet. By 2014 there have been six other objects of similar size to
Pluto found in the Kuiper belt, the ring of mostly frozen debris leftover from
the formation of the solar system. It was the discovery that some of these large
bodies known as TNO’s or Trans-Neptunian Objects had rather
strange orbits. When looked at as a whole nearly all of them had their orbits
clustered in one direction rather than being spread out as would be expected. By 2016, 7 more TNO’s had been discovered again with most of them having similarly
offset orbits but that’s not the only odd thing in the solar system. In fact
there were several more unexplained peculiarities, the first of these is
obviously the orbits clustering of the TNO’s, then there was the fact that the
orbits of these and some other objects were out of a plane of a solar system by
some way and some were even orbiting in the opposite direction of the rest of
the planets. Also it’s an odd fact that the plane of all the major planets is
tilted about 6 degrees from the equator of the Sun when you would expect it to
be the same. But if we put a new large but as yet undiscovered planet into the
computer models these peculiarities can be explained quite easily.
Astronomers have nicknamed it Planet 9 and say it it will have a mass of
around 10 times that of the earth and be about four times larger. It would be on a
very large elliptical orbit out of a plane of the solar system taking about
20,000 years to complete one orbit. This would also explain why we haven’t yet
found it we’ve been looking in the wrong place and it could be up to 1,200 AU or
180 billion kilometres away at its farthest distance. It’s
computer-simulated orbit would bring it into about 200 AU or 30 billion
kilometers at its closest approach still well out from the orbit of Neptune and a
very, very, very long way from the inner solar system on earth. We’ve also
recently been able to detect the solar systems around other stars and the most
common exoplanets found are ones which match the size and mass of a missing
planet 9 making our solar system look rather odd as we don’t appear to have
one. Theories are that the missing Planet 9 is most likely to be an ice giant
similar to Neptune that was thrown out of the solar system’s plane by Jupiter
or Saturn or it could possibly be a planet captured from another star in the sun’s birth cluster shortly after the
formation of the solar system. Until it is visually confirmed these will remain
just theories but it would plug a lot of holes in our current understanding of a
solar system and reinstate a new planet into Pluto’s place. It also unfortunately
gives plenty of ideas to the Nibiru believers to conflate these pieces of
information and come up with more wacko end the world theories, so the quicker
it is found the better it will be for all of us. So thanks for watching and I
just like to say that this episode sure was the Orange Tribal Trip by madcap
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