- Editor's Note - We received the following email about
Planet X and other related issues from a program listener. Since this is
a relatively common occurrence, we referred the relevant parts of it to
an astronomer-physicist we know for comment. We think this email
and commentary are informative and worth wide dissemination
because of the fear and 'popularity' of the Planet X doomsday scenario.
- Dear Sir,
- Are you familiar with this information? Can you provide
- Thank you for your assistance.
- Sincerely, (Name Withheld)
- Earth Changes
- The existence of a ninth planet was first considered
after observing perturbations in the orbits of the outer planets in our
solar system. Pluto was subsequently discovered in 1930.
- Later after it was discovered that Pluto also had a satellite
(ie. moon) and scientists were able to determine its relative size, Dr.
Robert S. Harrington, Supervisory Astronomer at the US Naval Observatory,
concluded that Pluto was much too small to explain the variances in the
orbits of Uranus and Neptune and first postulated the existence of a tenth
planet (aka Planet X).
- The deep space probes Pioneer 10 (1972) and 11 (1973)
were launched to find Planet X.
- Although they were unable to confirm Planet X's existence
visually, they were able to establish the existence of something of substantial
size/mass which significantly altered their trajectories.
- An Infrared Astronomical Satellite (INFRAS) was dispatched
in 1983 to investigate.
- On September 10, 1984 US News and World Report declared
in the article 'Planet X - Is It Really Out There?' that NASA had indeed
found something approximately 50 billion miles away.
- Then in a 1992 press release NASA stated that, "Unexplained
deviations in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune point to a large outer solar
system body of 4 to 8 earth masses on a highly tilted orbit, beyond [ONLY]
7 billion miles from the sun".
- I am unaware of any further word on the approach of Planet
X since that announcement and apparently Dr. Harrington "met with
a suspicious and untimely death in 1993".
- In early 2007, "America's New Planet X Tracker",
the South Pole Telescope (SPT) erected at the Ahmundsen/Scott Station in
Antarctica became operational. The SPT is an infra-red telescope.
- More recently...
- - NASA's five THEMIS space probes identified a giant
hole in our planet's magnetosphere.
- - Our ionosphere has been displaced (12-17-08 "NASA:
Ionosphere Not Where It Should Be").
- - Significant disturbances in the earth's magnetic field
- - The earth's magnetic pole has shifted.
- - A "wobble" has developed in the earth's daily
- As mentioned, here is the Astronomer-Physicist's reply.
- Dear Jeff,
- Here are my comments on the letter you forwarded to me
that contained an article on 'Earth Changes'. Much of that article was
- Planet X was hypothesized by Percival Lowell in the early
1900s. It is what Clyde Tombaugh was searching for when he found Pluto
- which was thought to be Planet X.
- The article claims it was Robert Harrington who postulated
the existence of a Planet X.
- Robert Harrington is the astronomer who correctly calculated
the mass of Pluto - turned out to be way too small to account for the observed
'perturbations' of Uranus' orbit. Thus he re-ignited the search for Planet
X. He spent much of his career after that searching for this planet, but
did not find it. Other astronomers also searched for it, to no avail.
- Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 were sent to fly-by Jupiter
and Saturn - this would be the first close encounters of these giant planets.
These space probes experienced NO perturbations to their trajectories.
All this is contrary to what the letter you sent me claims.
- Later fly-by missions to the outer planets, specifically,
Voyager 2, which flew by Neptune, discovered that Neptune was less massive
than previously thought. Calculations for Uranus' orbit with the new mass
of Neptune agree with Uranus' orbit, so that solved the 'perturbation'
problem. I don't know how to do these calculations, so I supposed this
could be a lie.
- Incidentally, it was once postulated that there was a
planet inside the orbit of Mercury responsible for the inconsistencies
in Mercury's orbit according to Newton's law of gravitation. This planet
was called Vulcan. It turned out that Newton's law of gravity was wrong,
and Einstein's theory correctly explained Mercury's orbit. There was no
- The Infra-Red Astronomical Satellite (IRAS, not INFRAS)
was a huge deal and big step forward for astronomy, because it was the
first time that astronomers could see what the sky looked like in the infrared
wave band. These infrared wavelengths do not penetrate our atmosphere,
thus the need for a satellite to see them. It was sent up to survey the
whole sky (take pictures of virtually every "inch" of the sky)
in a brand new wavelength. It was not sent up to look for "Planet
X" - most planet searches are conducted in the visible from earth
based telescopes. Pluto is a dark, cold, small body - yet it was discovered
- So, when the images started coming in, astronomers really
had no idea what they were seeing. If they saw something that was bright
in the infrared that did not correlate to a bright object in the pretty
well studied visible sky - (something that was giving off a lot of infrared
radiation, but very little visible light), that was pretty exciting and
new for them! They already had theories as to what kind of astronomical
objects would have such a signature, but until they could further study
the objects with ground based telescopes, they could not know for sure
what the objects were. That's why in the Washington post story (which
the US News and World Report article was based on) about the new IRAS images,
the astronomers said:
- "So mysterious is the object that astronomers do
not know if it is a planet, a giant comet, a nearby "protostar"
that never got hot enough to become a star, a distant galaxy so young that
it is still in the process of forming its first stars or a galaxy so shrouded
in dust that none of the light cast by its stars ever gets through.
- "All I can tell you is that we don't know what it
is," Dr. Gerry Neugebauer, IRAS chief scientist for California's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory and director of the Palomar Observatory for the California
Institute of Technology, said in an interview. "
- In other words, they never claimed it was definitely
a planet! The "journalists" at WaPo, like all journalists, love
a great headline! They ALWAYS misreport science, in an effort to make
the headline as exciting as possible. Astronomers, too, are guilty of
implying claims of great discoveries - very ego driven bunch. Any astronomer
would kill to discover a new planet.
- Here (from the Washington Post article) is a big clue
that it is NOT a planet (planets move!):
- "The second observation took place six months after
the first and suggested the mystery body had not moved from its spot in
the sky near the western edge of the constellation Orion in that time."
- The way planet hunters FIND planets, is because planets
move relative to the background stars. The object turned out to be a new
type of galaxy, previously unknown, called Ultra Luminous Infrared Galaxies,
now heavily studied, which are distant galaxies that don't show up brightly
in visible light, but are very bright in the infrared. This is due to
large numbers of stars being born. Stars are born inside huge dark dusty
clouds, the light from the new stars is hidden by the dust, but the dust
is warmed enough to emit infrared light. Notice that this was one of the
types of objects they suspected it might be.
- Here is a link to the Washington Post article: http://planet-x.150m.com/washpost.html
- There is no such 1992 NASA press release. However a
big advance in solar system astronomy did occur in 1992, and perhaps someone
is confusing that with this. David Jewitt discovered the first Kuiper
Belt Object (tiny icy planetesimals that abound in a plane beyond Pluto's
orbit - in fact, turns out Pluto is probably just a Kuiper Belt Object,
and not a planet after all - explains its very low mass, odd composition,
and strange orbit). David Jewitt was a professor at University of Hawaii
at the time, I knew him when I was there.
- Dr. Harrington died of esophageal cancer in 1993. Here's
the obituary. If this is a coverup, apparently the wife and kids are part
of it (or they were threatened with death if they publicly disagreed with
- harrington obit: http://ad.usno.navy.mil/wds/history/harrington.html
- The South Pole Telescope is a millimeter wave telescope
designed to study the cosmic microwave background. As I showed you before,
I don't think it even takes conventional "images" like the public
is used to seeing. The study of the cosmic microwave background is a huge
deal because it holds information about the beginning of the universe and
is a super hot topic in astronomy. That's why it got funded.
- Yes, NASA Themis probes discovered a bigger than usual
hole open up in the earth's magnetosphere. Why these random "discoveries"
(exciting, really, only for the scientists specializing in studying the
earth's magnetosphere) have anything to do with Planet X, I don't know...
Here's from NASA's website on the 'discovery':
- "Space physicists have long believed that holes
in Earth's magnetosphere open only in response to solar magnetic fields
that point south. The great breach of June 2007, however, opened in response
to a solar magnetic field that pointed north."
- So, it was already know there were these holes that opened
up. It was just thought that they opened up only when the fields pointed
south. Now to them, this is very exciting. The physics behind magnetic
fields is extremely difficult to deal with when trying to understand large,
complex magnetic field structures like those in the sun or around the earth.
They will figure this out.
- Ionosphere displaced: They think this is related to
the unusual solar minimum...
- I am unaware of any significant disturbances in the earth's
- The earth's magnetic pole always moves. It has been
moving faster and faster lately. Possibly there will be a magnetic pole
shift sometime in the future? But unlikely soon.
- There is a wobble in the earth's axis discovered over
a hundred years ago. It has to do with changes in temperature and salinity
of the oceans, and also due to the atmosphere.
- I hope this is helpful...
- Sincerely, (Name reserved on request)