Exposing PseudoAstronomy

February 3, 2009

Planet X and 2012: Why Planet X Is NOT Coming in 2012


Introduction

Continuing my series on Planet X and 2012, one of the main categories of claims deals with the amorphous “Planet X.” I use the adjective “amorphous” instead of “mysterious” or “elusive” because nearly everyone has a different hypothesis about what “Planet X” really is (and I’m going to drop the quotes for the rest of this post because it’s faster to write without them). Is it a large asteroid? Or a rocky planet? Or a gas giant planet? Or is it another star? Or is it something completely different?

I’m going to save going over those claims for another post. I’m also going to save the claims dealing with what will supposedly happen with Planet X for other posts, or ones that I’ve already covered (such as the Pole Shift). Rather, this post is really aimed at nipping Planet X in the butt before I even go over the specific claims – I’m going to show why we know that there is no Planet X coming for us in 2012 – or the near future, in general.

All posts in this series:

The Main Premise Behind Planet X

The basic idea behind Planet X is that a large object is currently approaching Earth and it will get very close to us towards the end of 2012. Doomsdayers disagree as to what exactly the object is, from where it’s approaching (as in within or above/below the plane of the solar system), and what exactly it will do to us. But, the real heart of the claims is that Planet X is out there, and either we just haven’t found it yet (even though it’s only 4 years away) or we have found it, but Big Government won’t let you know about it.

Knowing What’s In the Solar System

I discussed in my first post in this Planet X & 2012 series the real historical history behind the solar system’s Planet Xs. The basic idea is that the planets didn’t behave quite as they were supposed to given the gravitational forces by the other known planets in the solar system. Hypotheses were made about where the hidden mass would be coming from, the region was searched, and planets were discovered.

Today, we have very accurate models that take into account objects in the solar system ~1000 km in diameter and larger (this includes dwarf planets and some moons). These are used to calculate orbits which are included in every piece of astronomy planetarium-like software (such as Celestia, Starry Night, and The Sky on the freeware / commercial side).

Orbits are computed to even higher accuracy for space programs such as ESA, JAXA, and of course NASA, which have to know how everything is going to affect a spacecraft’s trajectory, how much fuel will be needed, and how and when it will get to its target.

The point that I’m attempting to make here is that if there were a large object out there, we would have to know about it.

What Do We Observe?

The claim has often been made that it’s out there but we just haven’t observed it yet — after all, the sky is a big place!

But, this claim is just wrong. We don’t have to observe the object with telescopes to know it’s there. After all, we don’t observe dark matter, but we know it’s there (and I will cover dark matter denialism in another post). We know dark matter is present because we observe its gravitational effects. And so if there were an unobserved, unseen Planet X that was fast-approaching Earth – even if it were 4 years away – we would know about it. Spacecraft would be slightly off-target. Planets would be where they’re supposed to be.

There are thousands if not tens or hundreds of thousands of amateur astronomers out there who are searching the sky every night to look at known objects or looking for unknown objects. If a planet were experiencing the gravitational effects of an incoming planet or star, the masses of people who rely upon calculated orbits without that object would notice that something was wrong.

The argument that amateurs wouldn’t know any better is also fallacious because quite often, amateur astronomers are better-versed with the sky than most professional astronomers. A professional astronomer – even if they are an observationalist, may know a few constellations, but likely they will only know where their object or objects of interest lie (I’m speaking from experience here). Amateurs, on the other hand, are very well-versed with where objects are in the sky, what you can see if you look in a certain patch, where asteroids will be, and where comets will be. So amateurs are more likely to notice the perturbations than professionals.

The other claim is that Planet X is known about but Big Government is hiding it from You. In other words, the “conspiracy theory.” But again, this is really not possible. For the same reasons given above that many thousands of amateur astronomers would see the gravitational effects of this object, they would also very likely find the object. Amateur telescopes can observe asteroids that are as small as a few tens of kilometers across (the size of a city). There’s no way that they would miss a planet – or especially a star – that is only 4 years away from hitting us. And there’s no way to keep many thousands of amateur astronomers from all over the world quiet.

Final Thoughts

The claim that Planet X is out there and is going to hit us soon is easy to propagate because astronomers are constantly finding new objects in the solar system. New asteroids and Kuiper Belt Objects are being discovered weekly. But people who are lead to believe the Planet X claims don’t take into account what it would really take to “hide” such an object from the tens to hundreds of thousands of people all over the world who observe the night sky. The gravitational effects from the object would be observed, and it should be bright enough – being only 4 years away from reaching us – that it should be plainly visible in the night sky.

And yet, it’s not observed. Its effects are not observed. So Planet X proponents resort to conspiracies to explain it, or they resort to simply ignoring the lack of evidence for it, effectively taking the “oh yeah!?” approach and not answering the questions or criticisms leveled.

As a final piece, in the interest of full academic honesty, I should note that it is not really possible to prove a negative. It is very remotely possible that there is a Planet X out there and we haven’t observed its effects for one reason or another. However, the likelihood of this being the case – as I have pointed out – is as close to 0% as is scientifically possible.

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32 Comments »

  1. Thanks for your posts. They ARE helpful to some and they DO make a difference! ;o)

    Comment by Steve — April 13, 2009 @ 11:47 am | Reply

  2. [...] Planet X & 2012: Why Planet X is not coming in 2012 [...]

    Pingback by 2012hoax: Agpage — May 14, 2009 @ 10:17 am | Reply

  3. [...] Planet X & 2012: Why Planet X is not coming in 2012 [...]

    Pingback by 2012hoax: Astrogeek — May 14, 2009 @ 1:33 pm | Reply

  4. [...] Planet X & 2012: Why Planet X is not coming in 2012 [...]

    Pingback by 2012hoax: Links — May 14, 2009 @ 10:53 pm | Reply

  5. could it be maybe planet x or a large celestial body may in fact be hiding behind the sun and is in fact not yet visible?

    Comment by Billy parks — July 23, 2009 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

  6. Err We go round the sun, how can it be hidden all year?? (Are you OK?)

    Comment by Mick — July 27, 2009 @ 8:04 am | Reply

  7. hey, but still, is it coming or not, or is it possible, but not quite?

    Comment by ian — July 29, 2009 @ 4:18 am | Reply

  8. Ugh, every time I read this, I feel safe in 2012. But I mean, how do you KNOW that it doesn’t exist and it isn’t coming in 2012? I just want to know the straight facts so I know if I should worry or not. But, nice explanation. I read it over and over. :)

    Comment by Questionaire — August 18, 2009 @ 2:00 pm | Reply

    • Read my other posts on the subject. All lines of “evidence” that people point to are easily shown to be faulty, not correct, unsupported suppositions, or plain lies. If you have a specific question/claim that I have not addressed, feel free to tell me so that I can.

      Comment by astrostu206265 — August 19, 2009 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

      • Planet X wouldn’t be coming to hit (Impact) the Earth. But it would affect the Earth,read Revelation.
        It is written “I will come like a thief in the night”. If Planet X was to be hidden, then this is how it would come without anyone really knowing.

        Also the Building of the Tower of Babel was hindered as it would have revealed secrets of the universe too early. If this was the case, this meant that Planet X would have been in orbit around Earth during this time, as such if the construction of the Tower was allowed, they would have seen Planet X. A mysterious planet with many secrets that Our heavenly father did not want to reveal!

        Comment by Voicefromabove — January 21, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

  9. Hi how are you? So I was just wondering if the Mayan Calander predicts the end of the world is the world really going to end or are we going to escape all of these horrible disasters that are said to happen? I really wanna know because I have been to so many webistes saying that the Mayans predict 2012 to be the very end. But I really don’t know which one to believe? I honsetly think that this planet x is like a comet or a planet like mars or venus or maybe an asteroid I don’t really know. I just really don’t wanna fear death I wanna live unitl I am very old.

    Comment by LinnieLu2 — October 4, 2009 @ 10:29 pm | Reply

    • Linnie – I suggest you read through the various posts I’ve made about Planet X and 2012. I’ve tried to address all the main claims of doomsday proponents. Key things to remember when looking at any claim are: (1) Does it actually make sense? (2) Does it have a real, physical mechanism that could do what people say it can do? (3) Are the “facts” they claim actually backed up by observation and repeatable experiments, or are they based on something someone made up or mis-interpreted from something written thousands of years ago? (4) Is the information that you’re getting from a reputable source that doesn’t have a monetary stake in the matter, or are you getting the information from someone hawking a book?

      If you look through my posts, especially this one, the one on what the sky looks like in 2012, and the two on the pole shifts (geographic and magnetic), you’ll understand where each of those questions comes into play. I should also note that mainstream news outlets are not necessarily a source for factual information, as ABC News ran a story last week that had a paragraph in it that was patently false about a galactic alignment in 2012.

      Comment by astrostu206265 — October 4, 2009 @ 11:26 pm | Reply

  10. can’t believe I’m working on a saturday. Supposed to be working, anwway. Thanks for the diversion, much more interesting stuff! have given thumbs up on Stumbleupon, thanks, bp :)

    Comment by envelope printing — December 12, 2009 @ 5:55 am | Reply

  11. Elvis is alive

    Michael Jackson is also alive

    911 was engineered by the American government and the buildings had explosives somehow planted in the walls and no-one saw this.

    JFK was shot by the government

    the British royal family are alien lizards
    and they had a hand in the death of Princess Di

    a man was born to a virgin and was subsequently killed because he was doing nice things.

    we all came here from another planet and if you do as the Scientologists say, you can be free of the little aliens which live inside you.

    these are all claims that are open to belief or disbelief.
    none of them provable (conveniently)

    this is no different.

    live your life like it is not true because there is nothing yo can do about it even if it is!!!!!

    (but it isn’t)

    Comment by Dave Williams — February 12, 2010 @ 8:34 am | Reply

  12. I think there is plenty of evidence to say that Planet X, or Nibiru, does NOT exist, i.e., a negative can be proved.

    Planet X is reputed to responsible for the creation of the earth in a collision that occurred billions of years ago. This means that given that it has a four thousand year orbit, Planet X has completed around a million orbits of the sun since then.

    Furthermore, Planet X is said to be massive enough to cause perturbations in the orbits of Neptune and Uranus.

    If all of that is true, then surely there would be no asteroid belt today.

    Consider, Planet X has two opportunities to interact with the asteroid belt; on the way in and again on the way out, and there would be two types of interaction in each of the two passes. Firstly, there would be the bowling-ball effect in which Planets X would carreer into some of the asteroids causing their destruction and possibly scattering some into space outside the area of the asteroid belt and secondly, the gravity of Planet X would capture some asteroids, pulling them out of their orbits, dragging them towards the sun or dragging them out to beyond the Kuiper belt.

    Also, both of these types of interaction would introduce a retrograde component to the asteroids in the viscinity of the interaction.

    After one-million orbits and two-million interaction, there should be nothing left of the asteroid belt.

    N’est pas?

    Comment by himnextdoor — February 17, 2010 @ 11:45 am | Reply

  13. Very good research stuff you have done on planet x. I am still not convinced that it is NOT coming. However i really enjoyed reading this article. You put a lot of work into it and i am very impressed. Keep up the good work!

    Comment by nibiru — February 18, 2010 @ 12:37 pm | Reply

  14. Perhaps the Planet X scenario could provide a good scapegoat for a nuclear attack launch from the moon. It’s scientifically possible isn’t it?

    Mind you, you’d have to be some kind of megalomaniac to want to do something like that and noone could ever be that evil could they? Such a person would have to be charismatic enough to gain the support of too many people to allow him/her to execute such a dastardly plot.

    Comment by himnextdoor — February 20, 2010 @ 4:25 pm | Reply

    • Sounds a bit like the Anti-Christ to me! 1 World Power. Read Revelation.

      Comment by Voicefromabove — January 21, 2011 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

  15. I’m not really on the nibiru band wagon, but have found it a bit interesting, some times I find myself wondering about any possibility of it being true, and do occasionally have my attention grabbed by the subject.

    I remember back in 1983 (or their abouts)the NPR news broadcast reported that NASA has discovered a tenth planet,I believe for the next couple of years after that the subject would come up occasionally, but then died out, at least I never heard any more reports on the matter since about 1985 (or their abouts).

    of course they didn’t mention “nibiru” or “planetx” but just that a tenth planet was discovered.

    So I’m just wondering was that really just a mistake on NASA’s part and to prevent any embarrassment they just quit reporting on it, or maybe you could tell me why NASA no longer seems to remember a tenth planet was discovered.

    Comment by Randy — April 4, 2010 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

    • Could you be more specific? I was 2 in 1985 and have no news reference to go off of. One small possibility is that was around the time that the mass of Neptune was revised after Voyager 2 flew by, eliminating the Newtonian need for a Planet X to explain its and Uranus’ movements.

      Comment by astrostu206265 — April 4, 2010 @ 6:07 pm | Reply

  16. I find it amusing how people try to explain away Planet X. They go to great lengths to try and convince themselves and others that we will be ok; that we will continue along our way of destroying our souls, our lifeforce with the system we live under ( they don’t know this because they are blind ). They must also think Jesus came here for nothing. Well, time will tell.

    Comment by rob — April 8, 2010 @ 5:47 am | Reply

    • I’m sure I’ll regret asking, but what in any way does Jesus have to do with Planet X?

      Anyway, “explaining away Planet X” … I basically argue that it’s you who should be explaining FOR Planet X. There’s simply no evidence. You who are making the claim is the one who needs to provide the evidence as to its existence.

      Comment by astrostu206265 — April 8, 2010 @ 8:45 am | Reply

    • Hi Rob,

      I know where you are coming from. I’ve just posted. Jesus said “i will come like a thief in the night”. Planet X would make no impact on anything around it to alert others to it’s existence.
      This is why it has been found but not proven.

      Comment by Voicefromabove — January 21, 2011 @ 4:34 pm | Reply

  17. [...] Planet X and 2012: Why Planet X Is NOT Coming in 2012 [...]

    Pingback by Planet X and 2012: Proof Earth Is Not Experiencing a Pole Shift « Exposing PseudoAstronomy — July 1, 2010 @ 9:20 pm | Reply

  18. Hi
    Planet X will not hit the earth in 2012, it will hit the earth after 2045 and this is truth. If it not hits earth, it will effects gravitational force of earth and the result is ultraviolet and other harmful rays will enter into earths atmosphere directly and these rays can kill all humanity.

    Comment by Tom — July 14, 2010 @ 8:54 am | Reply

    • Tom – your evidence would be … ?

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — July 14, 2010 @ 9:32 am | Reply

      • @Stuart – I think.. Tom is sure that he is not gonna live beyond 2045 and no one can find him! So, he could simply throw whatever he feels/thinks/speculates, etc in a public forums..!

        Let’s not waste our time on such people with no proofs.

        Comment by Apar — August 10, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

  19. listen here you like many have no idea what your talking about .it took me a year of reaserch just to remotely understand it all . get your facts straight man, and stop posting [----] theres to much on line as it is

    Comment by rob — October 15, 2010 @ 9:47 pm | Reply

  20. [...] Planet X and 2012: Why Planet X Is NOT Coming in 2012 [...]

    Pingback by Planet X and 2012: My Posts So Far « Exposing PseudoAstronomy — November 6, 2010 @ 12:12 am | Reply

  21. dont talk bad to me but this is a public forum where we can all talk!
    ok so im a muslim and NO ONE knows when is the end of the world except for ALLAH (god)
    planet x might be there! it might come near us! but not necessaily HIT us! it may change something!
    it may leave an effect not a destruction!! NO ONE knows! not even NASA guys….
    it may be a lie……. it may be the truth….
    the day of judjment (doomsday) WILL COME someday
    so you got to be ready for it!!
    you dont know if your living for another week or a day or an hour!
    you dont even know if your going to wake up after you sleep!!
    so be careful!! you might die any time and you dont even know it!
    thanks :D

    Comment by crazyaboutfashion22 — January 2, 2012 @ 10:19 am | Reply

  22. 2045 is when apophis WILL hit earth its a large asteroid that has been calculated by nasa. the astroid belt not being there thing u said is stupid the astroid belt is on a flat plane and space isnt flat anything could be moving up and down do u think our entire solar system is surrounded by the astroid belt do u know anything about space or are u just lookin thru a window at the sky u mention dark matter and use dictionary terminology to try to make yourself feel smarter but you are truely blind the truth is nowhere on this page, so dont spread your opinion like aids if you have no clue what ur sayin

    Comment by guy fawkes — January 19, 2012 @ 10:47 am | Reply

  23. Wow….. what a load of BS…. this is the biggest ” Dis Info ” site I have ever seen….. How much are they paying you?

    Comment by doug — April 29, 2012 @ 5:37 pm | Reply


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