Aug 5, 2014

Planet X or Dark Star?

Andy Lloyd's startling hypothesis, if proved true, could turn Planet X from a conspiracy-tinged myth into a scientific reality

Planet x - space
Artist's impression of a sub-brown dwarf binary system.

The idea of Planet X isn’t a new one; scientists have been actively pursuing its presence in our galaxy for the best part of 100 years now.

One of the first was astronomer Clyde W Tombaugh, who inadvertently discovered Pluto – which he initially gave the temporary name ‘Planet X’ for 10th planet – while scanning the skies for a Neptune-sized body causing anomalies in both Uranus’s and Neptune’s orbits during the 1930s. Unfortunately for Tombaugh, Pluto was far too small – a mere 0.2 per cent the size of Earth – to exert the force required to create such anomalies.

However, Planet X returned to infamy once again during the 1980s in the work of American physicist Richard A Muller, who proposed in his book Nemesis: The Death Star (1984) that a giant planet on an elongated orbit, known as ‘Nemesis’, ‘Nibiru’ or ‘Planet X’, could be passing near the Oort cloud and sending comets flying into the inner Solar System every 26 million years, thus explaining the timing of Earth’s extinction cycles. However, Muller’s theory began to lose its charm after scientists and astro­nomers failed to discover any conclusive evid­ence of such a comet-displacing body.

But in 1983, a joint project between NASA, the Netherlands Agency for Aerospace Programmes and the UK Science and Engineering Research Council known as the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, or IRAS, began to reveal some rather significant anom­alies – and the first “real” evidence of a Planet X-type body on the far reaches of the Solar System. On 31 December 1983, the Washington Post reported the following: “A heavenly body possibly as large as the giant planet Jupiter and possibly so close to Earth that it would be part of this solar system has been found in the direction of the constell­ation Orion by an orbiting telescope aboard the US Infrared Astronomical Satellite.”

Unfortunately, the IRAS project was wound up after only 10 months due to technical problems with the satell­ite; and while it did reveal numerous anomalies, the most significant of them, including the fabled Jupiter-sized object, were explained away by the mainstream science community as dist­ant galaxies. Since then, Planet X has been relegated to the confines of conspiracy forums and far-fetched assert­ions by researchers intent on proving that Earth will be destroyed by Nibiru in the year 2012.
But the IRAS project left some 350,000 anomalies unexplained at its conclusion, which means investigations into the potential existence of Planet X are far from over – especially if Andy Lloyd, a UK-based writer, researcher and author, has anything to do with it.

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