Exposing PseudoAstronomy

January 30, 2009

Planet X and 2012: Proof Earth Is Not Experiencing a Pole Shift


Between my posts on the magnetic pole shift and geographic pole shift (since I left my notes on the latter in the office and so will have to write that post tomorrow), I’m going to address the claim that people make that our planet, right now is in the middle of a pole shift, that it’s already started to happen, and The Government doesn’t want you to know.

I’m going to show you why this is very obviously wrong, and what you can do yourself on any clear night to prove that this is wrong.

All posts in this series:

The Premise

This premise is NOT unique to this particular website, but it’s the one I’m using to illustrate the point for this post. The author clearly states, “Earth’s axis tilt has recently increased by an additional 26 degrees.” He also provides an illustration of what Earth’s orbit should be (top) and what it actually is (according to him) (bottom).


For background, we’ll actually use his first (top) diagram. Earth’s axis is tilted 23.5° relative to the ecliptic. The “ecliptic” is defined as the plane that Earth traces out when it orbits the sun. So the tilt can also be described as the tilt that Earth’s axis makes relative to the path it takes around the sun.

Now let’s define “axis.” Again, this may seem elementary, but it’s important we get all the definitions straight. There are two points on Earth – the North and South geographic poles – that are always* pointed at the exact same locations in space. If you were to draw a line between these two points and follow them to other stars, the North pole line would come fairly close to what’s popularly known as the “North Star,” or “Polaris.” This common name comes both from medieval Latin polaris meaning “heavenly,” from the original Latin polus meaning “end of an axis.” Fairly apropos.

That is very important here – the poles are always aimed at the same spot in space, regardless of the time of day, regardless of the season. And Polaris sits 66.5° above the ecliptic (90°-23.5°= 66.5°) – or just about (since it’s actually slightly off of the axis, but it’s close enough for our purposes here).

The rest of the planet rotates – spins – around an imaginary line that runs through the North and South geographic poles (those two stationary points relative to the stars). This means that everywhere else on Earth, the stars rise and set throughout the day and night as Earth rotates under them. At either pole, the same stars just move in direct East-to-West circles without any rising or setting.

* There is a ~26,000-year precession (wobble) of the pointing of Earth’s rotation axis. The axis stays the same relative to Earth, but it moves relative to the stars in a rather large circle. 13,000 years ago, the North Star would have been the very bright star Vega. However, this should NOT be confused with a pole shift. This process is very slow and steady, and it has nothing to do with the claims of the 2012 doomsdayers.

Why This Pole Shift Claim Is Demonstrably Wrong

I’ll admit, this is fairly low-hanging fruit. You don’t have to be an astrophysicist to figure out that these claims are wrong. And you should also be wary when the very first words on the guy’s website are, “Order your copy today” (of his book). You should also be careful when the guy’s Ph.D. is purely honorary and in the “the field of Energyinformative Sciences, from the Academy of Energyinformative Sciences.” Notice something missing? Yeah, anything related to astronomy, geology, or physics … not that a degree in those automatically makes all your ideas suddenly believable.

With that in mind, what would happen if the pole, well, shifted? Well, it would not look like this person’s diagram, partly because the plane of the ecliptic does not rotate with the axis of rotation. Earth’s orbit around the sun is independent from its rotation about its axis. But the major problem with the diagram is how he has drawn the day/night sides. Because the ecliptic would stay the same as it is now, the day/night shading should run vertically through the image.

What would the consequences of this be? This is where his claims are very easily demonstrably wrong in two very simple ways.

First, let’s look at this tilt and where the day/night line should be. If Earth has tilted an additional 26° as of now, it would be tilted 49.5° relative to the ecliptic. That means that all latitudes North of 49.5° N or South of 49.5° S would experience 24 hours of daylight during their summer solstices and 24 hours of night during their winter solstices. England, Norway, Canada, Alaska, Tierra del Fuego, parts of Australia … I think they would have noticed this. I don’t think that governments could really cover something like that up.

Second, let’s look at the stars. He claims, “The star layout would only be a miniscule change which the average person would not notice.” This is factually wrong and very easy to see for yourself. Just go outside with a camera that can have a shutter speed of a minute or longer and a tripod. Aim it towards the North, and take a 1-5 minute picture (or longer if you’d like). What you will see is the stars making little arcs through the picture, but there will be one reasonably bright star that appears to not move at all. That star is Polaris. It may look something like the photo below, which was taken for about 30 minutes. The bright star towards the lower right corner is Polaris.

Sorry Southern Hemisphere folks, there is no pole star for you guys, but you can still accomplish the same effect and see stars moving around the Southern Celestial Pole.

What does this relatively stationary star show? It shows that Earth’s axis is still pointed towards Polaris. If it had tilted by 26° — even if it had tilted by 1° – that star would not stay in the same place, but it would move along with the others.

In addition, tens of thousands (or more) telescopes rely upon knowing exactly where Polaris is relative to the North Celestial Pole. Without it, they couldn’t keep keep track of objects, “go to” telescope systems wouldn’t work, and everyone who has any telescope that tracks the night sky would notice.

The Conspiracy

And so we get to the conspiracy”

“Why has no one mentioned the shift of the Earth’s Axis? Surely they would tell the public if something this major had occurred. Surely the scientists or meteorologists would have said something? Surely the media would have mentioned this?

“Wrong!!!! Global Panic! Economic Meltdown! Panic Hording!

“Meteorologists, Media CEO’s, astronomers, astrophysicists and other experts worldwide seem to have been silenced. A common gov’t control procedure in wartime or cataclysmic situations with severe penalties for those who fail to comply… Threats of Gitmo or being discredited & unemployed would be persuasive. Remember what happened to Bob Lazar for revealing Area 51 secrets? The gov’t destroyed him.

“The gov’t successfully persuaded thousands of workers & scientists to keep their silence when building the A-bomb in the 1940’s, so let that be an example of how it is possible to silence an entire industry of tens of thousands, if needed.”

Again, these claims are demonstrably wrong because anyone can check Earth’s polar alignment by going outside and looking for the North Star (or Southern Cross), and anyone can tell you that southern Argentina doesn’t experience 24-hr daylight around the summer solstice. And, being an astronomer, I can say that I certainly haven’t received my hush money, otherwise I’d be driving a nicer car (or have a nicer camera system, more likely … or maybe live in a nicer apartment).

Final Thoughts

This represents one of the more silly claims (remotely) related to the Planet X and 2012 doomsday scenario / conspiracy that’s out there. But it is related under the category of a “pole shift,” and so I have included it in this series. The idea that Earth is currently experiencing a pole shift is easily shown to be incorrect, and with that, I hope to lay this topic to rest – at least to those of you who have read this blog.

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