Planet X,also known as Nibiru, Draco or Plutinos, was first introduced to the world over 30 years ago by Zecharia Sitchin. He claimed that this planet has an orbit that takes it to the outer reaches of our solar system returning to the inner planets, including earth, every 3,600 years. He further claimed, based on his interpretation of Sumerian texts, that a superior civilisation developed on Planet X and that on one of their periodic visits near earth they landed here and created Man becoming his gods. This outlandish idea was taken up by others and embellished further, sometimes changing the periodicity of the planet, claiming that various catastrophic events such as the Flood of Noah, the Plagues of Egypt and the destruction of Atlantis were caused by a close encounter with planet X and promising(a) further devastation when it returns in 2012. Books purporting to be guides for surviving this event were widely promoted. It would seem that the use of fear is an effective way of selling books.
Feeble attempts were made to give this daft idea a scientific basis, such as when it was suggested that anomalies in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune could only be explained by the gravitational pull of Planet X. However, in 1993 it was found that these ‘anomalies’ were the result of orbital computation errors. Furthermore, the idea that this ‘12th planet’ harboured life similar to our own is an even greater nonsense. Life on earth would cease if we were deprived of the sun’s heat and light for a short period, so to suggest that a planet could wander off into the outer reaches of the solar system for thousands of years and sustain life as we know it, is as stupid an idea as that of a flat earth.
Nevertheless, early January 2016 saw a claim(c) that a large planet probably exists in the outer reaches of our solar system, as it is the most likely explanation for unexpected movements by objects in the Kuiper Belt. The search for Planet Nine seems to have intensified as astronomers suggested(g) that the unusual ’tilt’ of our sun may be caused by this very large planet! New Scientist of 30th January 2016, explores the possible existence of this ‘Planet Nine’(f). The difficulty in locating such a planet may be explained by a snippet (p.7) in the same magazine which refers to an exoplanet with an orbit one trillion kilometres from its star.
In the same month, Daniel Whitmire, a retired astrophysics professor, “published findings in the January issue of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society that the as yet undiscovered “Planet X” triggers comet showers linked to mass extinctions on Earth at intervals of approximately 27 million years.”(d) This was not a new claim from him as he “and his colleague, John Matese, first published research on the connection between Planet X and mass extinctions in the journal Nature in 1985 while working as astrophysicists at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Their work was featured in a 1985 Time magazine cover story titled, “Did Comets Kill the Dinosaurs? A Bold New Theory About Mass Extinctions.”
An extensive review(e) of Sitchin’s theory and astronomical data that seems to support the existence of another planet in the outer reaches of our solar system, concluded that “Quite simply, Zecharia Sitchin’s Nibiru, does not exist…”
Nevertheless, in 2016 two astronomers independently proposed that Planet 9 (should that be Planet IX?) was possibly responsible for changing the axial tilt of the other planets relative to the axis of our sun(h).
*More recently an object with the exciting name of 2015 TG387, probably a dwarf planet, about 300 km in diameter, had its 40,000-year orbit determined. However, aberrations in that orbit are claimed by some to be evidence for a large distant body; the hypothesised Planet X(i)!*
(a) http://www.2012.com.au/PlanetX.html (offline 17.07.14)
(f) New Scientist No. 3058, Jan. 30 2016 (p.8)