August: The Traditional Planet X Silly Season
I’ve noticed that August usually brings with it a significant uptick in Planet X-related stories in the mainstream media. Lots of people go on holiday, companies go quiet, governments tick along and seek only to bury bad news this month, and no one’s playing much attention anyway. So, bored journalists stuck in their offices when everyone else is having fun scrabble around to produce stories, sometimes from nothing at all, other times re-hashing previous material. More often than not, they simply nick each other’s ideas. This year, the traditional August silly season has been marred by the rather unfortunate possibility of nuclear war. This kind of serious topic has no place in August, so most people seem to be consigning it to the desperate summer news schedule. I’m sure that if the threat of war on the Korean peninsula continues into September, then people will start to sit up and take notice, with the commensurate impact on stock markets, prospects of mass annihilation, etc.
Anyhow, within that context, it’s little surprise to see a story outlining the fears people have about Planet X, and how there may actually be an underlying reality behind the conspiracy theories (which there often is, in one form or another). The celestial ball gets rolling by an online article in the Daily Star (1) which outlines the most recent nightmare scenario from the heavens, and then includes a family-friendly Planet X rebuttal on a YouTube video by NASA scientist David Morrison. Some of the detailed points he makes are arguable (about ‘Nibiru’ being a ‘minor god in the Babylonian pantheon’, and about how great an effect a perihelion transit by a Planet X object might have upon the solar system’s architecture, for instance) but his general thrust is sound. Don’t panic!
So, generally this tabloid article comes across as quite comforting for Daily Star readers flicking through the latest post-modern prospects for the apocalypse. Within hours of this publication is a more alarming article in the Daily Mail, warning its readers that claims have been made by an American author, David Meade, that the mysterious planet Nibiru will soon crash into the Earth (2). The author has brought forward Nibiru’s schedule by a month, based upon a total solar eclipse set to occur on 21st August. This will be witnessed across the United States by millions of people (lucky them!) and is a sure sign of impending Armageddon, he claims:
“Earlier this year, Mr Meade claimed that Nibiru would clash with Earth in October after being driven here by the gravitational pull from a ‘binary star’ twinned with the sun. He said the star is difficult to spot because of the angle it is approaching Earth. Now the conspiracy theorist has moved his date forward, claiming that the upcoming ‘Great American Eclipse’ will signal the planet’s arrival.” (2)
Then, writing for another British ‘red top’ tabloid, the Daily Express, Jon Austin takes a long hard look at Planet X Nibiru conspiracies on the Internet. From doomsday prophecies of impending planetary impacts, to planets behind the Sun, to the imminent advent of a Second Coming (along with the now obligatory fundamentalist ‘Rapture’) to Russian media announcements, he does a pretty decent job of tying together the various threads of doom (3). In typical churnalism style, the story continues to get picked up and propagated, this time by another British newspaper, ‘The Telegraph’, which may once have been considered a high brow news outlet (4). And so it goes on…
This year’s Nibiru threat takes a similar form to those of previous years, and decades (2003 and 2012 being vintage years). The trigger point for this year’s non-event is a total solar eclipse which will be seen across the United States next week:
“The “Nibiru Cataclysm” movement claims the eclipse heralds the end of the world and the arrival of Nibiru. Christian numerologist David Meade predicts Nibiru will appear in the skies on September 23, just over a month after the eclipse warning sign. His book Planet X – The 2017 Arrival, claims there will be a close pass of Nibiru or even a direct impact. His analysis is based on Bible verses and planetary and star alignments, reports Dailystar.co.uk. He said: “The Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017, is a major – huge – harbinger.”” (3)
Oh boy. Let’s unpick this a little. Admittedly, with all the recent talk of a new Korean war, perhaps things aren’t looking too good right now. But the prospect of Nibiru, or Planet X, ‘appearing in our skies’ is zero. Yes, zero. As the article rightly points out, objects in the solar system don’t suddenly appear out of thin air, especially those transiting from the outer solar system. It takes years for them to move through the orbits of the planets to get within striking distance, and even amateur astronomers with backyard telescopes can pick up comets at quite a significant distance out from us in our cosy inner solar system sanctum. An incoming planet would easily have been spotted within the planetary zone some time back, if it was truly about to become a visible object in our skies.
Some argue, and provide what they consider to be photographic and video evidence, of a planet hiding behind the Sun which will imminently pop out into the open. Again, not possible. The Earth moves around the Sun at a considerable clip compared to the slow-coaches from the outer solar system. So, much of a distant body’s apparent movement across the sky is attributable to the Earth’s own relative speed of transit around the Sun. Of course, planets do ‘disappear’ behind the Sun during their movements relative to us, perhaps for a month or two when the glare of the Sun wipes out their own dim reflected glow. Sometimes they are actually eclipsed. But they cannot remain there for long – it’s just a matter of celestial mechanics. The planets continue their perpetual dance and reappear again.
So it would be with Nibiru. These images of ‘two suns’ have been appearing for years and years. They can’t all be true, because a planet from the outer solar system could not disappear behind the Sun for that length of time. So, which ones are true and which ones aren’t? They all look the same. Which is because they are all lens flares, sundogs, camera artefacts from pointing an optical device at a bright local star and seeing how it handles the glare. Not particularly well, it turns out.
Alternative claims have been made that Planet X Nibiru is approaching from the south, and is therefore blocked from view by observers in the Northern hemisphere. This is a ridiculous argument, because there are plenty of telescopes in the southern hemisphere perfectly capable of spotting a southern object. Erroneously, David Meade takes this long-running theme up within his toolkit of Planet X regurgitation:
“Writing a piece for Planet X News (5) in January (sic), Mr Meade said: ‘This system is, of course, not aligned with our solar system’s ecliptic, but is coming to us from an oblique angle and toward our South Pole. ‘This makes observations difficult, unless you’re flying at a high altitude over South America with an excellent camera. In his book, he claims to put forward scientific evidence, but readers commenting on the book say the argument quickly develops into a religious argument.” (2)
I’ve not read the book, so I can’t comment on the last quote about his less-than-scientific approach. But it’s fair to say that the newspaper articles currently circulating make it plain to see that this fresh Planet X debate is driven by religious ideology and prophecy:
“Mr Meade said it was written in the Old Testament book of Isaiah, Chapter 13, verses nine to 10, which state: “See, the Day of the LORD is coming – a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger – to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. “The Stars of Heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising Sun will be darkened and the Moon will not give its light.”
“He said there was a stunning numerical coincidence that he calls the “33 Convergence”. Mr Meade added: “When the eclipse begins on August 21, the sunrise will be dark, just as Isaiah predicts. “The Moon involved is called a black moon. These occur about every 33 months. In the Bible, the divine name of Elohim appears 33 times in Genesis. “The eclipse will start in Lincoln Beach, Oregon – the 33rd state – and end on the 33rd degree of Charleston, South Carolina. “Such a solar eclipse has not occurred since 1918, which is 99 years – or 33 times three.”
“He worked out the end of the world date based on this coincidence: Thirty three days after the eclipse, the stars will align exactly as the book of Revelation says they will before the end of the world. That date is September 23, 2017, he says. He said the eclipse enters through the 33rd US state, exits at the 33rd latitude by Charleston, and occurs 33 days out from the Great Sign of Revelation 12. He added: “This is indeed an amazing omen and a frightful sign.”” (3)
He’s not alone in believing that the solar eclipse is an omen. But David Meade goes further by linking it to forthcoming Planet X-related doom in his book (6). Here’s the thing. Nibiru is not a Christian invention. It is even not a Biblical story (although, arguably, relevant parts of The Book of Genesis may have been lifted from previous ancient Middle Eastern sources whose creation myths allude to the Nibiru mystery). Let’s be frank – Nibiru stems from a pre-Biblical pagan polytheistic tradition. If fundamentalist Christians have co-opted it for their own, then it’s simply because it conveniently plays into their own dark narratives. Their stance is, at best, ironic, if you think about it. Normally, they spend their time damning the old religions. Not as bad as fundamentalist Muslims from so-called IS destroying the ancient monuments, it’s true, but a general antipathy, nonetheless.
If Nibiru is a bona fide Planet X object, as originally proposed by Zecharia Sitchin (an independently minded Jewish writer and scholar) (7), then it is currently way out in the solar system, offering no imminent threat whatsoever. True, its discovery out there may upset various academic apple-carts, but it is not about to destroy our world. We’re quite capable of doing that ourselves, and need no help from distant planets, however much they may act as celestial omens of doom in some people’s eyes.
Written by Andy Lloyd, 12th August 2017
1) David Trayner “Solar eclipse ‘reveals exact date Nibiru will destroy Earth…and it’s NEXT MONTH’” 7th August 2017 http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/weird-news/634383/total-solar-eclipse-2017-map-date-august-21-planet-x-nibiru-end-world-september-23-bible
2) Harry Pettit, “Will the world end this month? Conspiracy theorists claim the upcoming solar eclipse will cause the mysterious planet ‘Nibiru’ to smash into Earth”, 7th August 2017, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4767852/Will-September-s-solar-eclipse-cause-world-end.html
3) Jon Austin “NASA confirms Planet X EXISTS but could mythical Nibiru really DESTROY earth next month?” 9th August 2017 http://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/838428/NASA-Planet-X-Nibiru-DESTROY-earth-next-month-August-21-total-solar-eclipse with thanks to Kevin
4) Eleanor Muffitt “Will 2017 solar eclipse cause secret planet ‘Nibiru’ to destroy Earth next month? (No, but conspiracy theorists think so)” 11th August 2017 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/will-2017-solar-eclipse-cause-secret-planet-called-nibiru-destroy/
5) David Meade “Overwhelming Evidence for the 2017 Arrival of Planet X/Nibiru” 16th June 2016, http://planetxnews.com/2016/06/16/overwhelming-evidence-2017-arrival-planet-x-nibiru/
6) David Meade “Planet X – The 2017 Arrival” ebookit.com 2016
7) Zecharia Sitchin “The Twelfth Planet” Avon books 1976