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There’s been a story around for a long time that there is another planet – and a big one at that – lingering on the edge of the solar system. Often called Planet X or Nibiru, the planet is said to have a huge orbit and be found beyond Neptune and poor downgraded Pluto. It has always been seen as a myth but now scientific evidence may have shown the myth of Planet X is fact not fiction.
The story of the solar system
Back in 1781, William Herschel found a planet that was previous unknown and hadn’t come down to us through the stories of ancient cultures. That planet was Uranus, named for the god of the sky from Greek mythology. In 1846, Urbain Le Verrier and John Couch Adams used calculations to predict the orbit of Uranus while in the same year, JG Galle used a telescope to discover yet another big planet out there – named for the Greek god of the seas, Neptune.
Finally, in 1930, the last planet in the solar system was discovered, a tiny world that was named for the Roman god of the underworld. Pluto stayed a planet until 2006 when it was downgraded to dwarf planet status.
The myth of Planet X
The myth of Planet X, also known as Nibiru, predates these discoveries by a long way. The origin of the stories seem to date back to the Sumerians, who believed that it was inhabited by a race of beings called the Nephilim (yes, the ones mentioned in the Bible). They believed the Nephilim came to Earth to do a spot of mining and created mankind as a slave race to help out.
In more recent times, the story was brought to our attention by the writing of Zecharia Sitchin. His belief was that the stories from Sumeria, including those of the Nephilim and also foundation myths about the god Marduk and goddess Tiamat, were actually foretelling the reappearance of Planet X in our solar system. And this reappearance wouldn’t be a good thing for the rest of the planets including Earth.
Much of Sitchin’s writings were refuted and his translations were a little off according to Sumerian experts. His idea of an orbit of 3,600 years for the planet was dismissed as impossible, as the planet would simply wander off out of the solar system because it was too far from the Sun for its gravity to have any effect.
Planet X would probably have remained categorised with Atlantis and lunar bases until an article from January this year in Scientific American of all places, raised the issue from a scientific
viewpoint. The report discussed the work performed by the California Institute of Technology (often known as Cal-Tech) and their belief that Planet X may well exist.
Researchers Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown have discovered the possibility of Planet X based on models and computer simulations. No direct sighting of the planet has yet taken place but the effect of its presence could be the explanation for the orbits of some five different objects in the Kuiper Belt.
According to Jim Green, from NASA’s Planetary Science Division, the possibility of a new planet is a very exciting one but that it is a little too early to say for definite that Planet X is out there.
If it does exist, Planet X could be around ten times the size of Earth, similar in size to Neptune and Uranus. It also orbits some 20 times further out from the sun than Neptune, which is around 2.8 million miles out. This would mean the new planet wouldn’t take 3,000 years to orbit – more like 10,000 to even 20,000!
Should we be worried?
One element of the myth of Planet X that may be a little off putting is its connection with a massive apocalypse here on Earth. There have been various ‘scares’ when Planet X was said to be getting close and causing problems but so far these have yet to come to pass.
Due to its size or even heavy mass, it is said that Planet X will have a negative effect on all of the planets in the solar system. It will see a period of increased solar activity including storms that affect our atmosphere and interfere with satellite transmissions. It can even cause magnetic fluctuations and, according to the worst-case scenario, could even cause a polar reversal here on Earth.
A new planet in the solar system would be fascinating though it is doubtful any of us will see it pass by. But if it does have a negative side effect on the Earth when it does pass by, future generations may be taking much more notice of the myth of Planet X.