My latest book, entitled “Darker Stars” is now available in paperback. The book’s sub-title is “New Evidence: The Scope of Our Growing Solar System, Planet X, Invisible Planetoids, Gas Giants, Comets, Planet Nine, and More…”. Here is the description on the back cover:
“Darker Stars explores the often contentious subject of Planet X. Building upon the historically hot-and-cold hunt for an additional planet in our solar system, the author examines the recent resurgence of scientific interest in this subject, in the re-branded form of Planet Nine. The elusive nature of this object provides the impetus for a hypothesis about planet building in interstellar space, and associated phenomena. In particular, free-floating planetary mass objects and sub-brown dwarfs exemplify the anomalous new characters shaking the foundation of the classic star/planet boundary.
“Our solar system, too, is full of anomalies, strongly implying the presence of another massive planetary body. As our understanding of dark bodies in interstellar space builds, the author argues whether the existence of Planet X-type bodies should now be considered the new norm. With over 100 images and sources, approximately 500 references, and an extensive index, Darker Stars provides a robust and scientifically-based study of the re-fashioned outer solar system.”
The book is 376 pages long, and is published by Timeless Voyager Press in a 6″x9″ paperback format, available through Amazon. There is a vast amount of information about the mysteries of the outer solar system within the book. The book also discusses recent advances in understanding about the outer solar system, and hypotheses about Planet X and its re-branded corollary Planet Nine. I present a new hypothesis about how planets might evolve over time in interstellar space, and how this process may explain why Planet X has been so difficult to observe directly. Why assume objects beyond Neptune form the same way as those within? Drag and solar wind effects on dust will be different, even more so in interstellar space beyond heliosphere. New rules are needed for the outer solar system. #darkerstars
‘Darker Stars’ brings together a decade of Dark Star blogs and articles, updated with brand new material, and then completely re-written into a comprehensive and fully-referenced non-fiction book. It is both robust and challenging in its approach.
Chapter 1 The Incomplete Solar System
Chapter 2 The History of Planet X
Chapter 3 Sub-Brown Dwarfs in the Infrared
Chapter 4 The Extended Scattered Disk
Chapter 5 Re-Branding Planets
Chapter 6 The Hunt for Planet Nine
Chapter 7 Arguments Against Planet Nine
Chapter 8 Planet Nine and the Nice Model
Chapter 9 Further Planet X Evidence Among The Minor Bodies
Chapter 10 The Origins of Planet X
Chapter 11 Building Planets in Interstellar Space
Chapter 12 The Shroud Hypothesis
Chapter 13 An Abundance of Dark Stars
Chapter 14 ‘Oumuamua
Chapter 15 Jovian Mysteries
Chapter 16 Puzzling Pluto
Chapter 17 Meandering Mars
Chapter 18 Water World
Chapter 19 Moon Mysteries
Chapter 20 Comets and Asteroids
Chapter 21 Nibiru
Chapter 22 The Dark Star Revisited
The new paperback book is available from Barnes and Noble:
It is also available from many other reputable booksellers online. including Amazon:.
Signed and dedicated copies of the book can be obtained directly from me: I’m based in England, so bear in mind the likely postal costs for what is quite a substantial book!
It looks like it’ll be another long, lonely autumn for Dr Mike Brown on the summit of the Hawaiian dormant volcano Mauna Kea, searching for Planet Nine. He made use of the 8m Subaru telescope last year, and it looks like he’s back again this year for a second role of the dice (unless he does all this by remote control from Pasadena?). I can only assume, given the time of the year, that the constellation of Orion remains high on their list of haystacks to search.
A recent article neatly sums up the current state of play with the hunt for Planet Nine (1), bringing together the various anomalies which, together, seem to indicate the presence of an undetected super-Earth some twenty times further away than Pluto (or thereabouts). Given how much, I’ve written about this materials already, it seems unnecessary to go over the same ground. I can only hope that this time, Dr Brown and his erstwhile colleague, Dr Batygin, strike lucky. They have their sceptical detractors, but the case they make for Planet Nine still seems pretty solid, even if the gloss has come off it a bit recently with the additional OSSOS extended scattered disk object discoveries (2). But there’s nothing on Dr Brown’s Twitterfeed to indicate what his plans are regarding a renewed search for Planet Nine.
Even if the Planet Nine article’s discussion about a new hunt for the celestial needle in the haystack is misplaced, it does make a valid point that super-Earths, if indeed that is what this version of Planet X turns out to be, are common enough as exo-planets, and weirdly absent in our own planetary backyard. So a discovery of such an object way beyond Neptune would satisfy the statisticians, as well as get the bubbly flowing at Caltech. Dr Brown did seem to think that this ‘season’ would be the one. We await with bated breath…
Meanwhile, the theoretical work around Planet Nine continues, with a new paper written by Konstantin Batygin and Alessandro Morbidelli (3) which sets out the underlying theory to support the result of the 2016 computer simulations which support the existence of Planet Nine (4). Dr Morbidelli is an Italian astrophysicist, working in the south of France, who is a proponent of the Nice model for solar system evolution (named after the rather wonderful French city where he works). This model arises from a comparison between our solar system’s dynamics, and those of the many other planetary systems now known to us, many of which seem bizarre and chaotic in comparison to our own. Thus, the Nice model seeks to blend the kinds of dynamical fluctuations which might occur during the evolution of a star’s planetary system with both the outcomes witnessed in our own solar system, and the more extreme exoplanets observed elsewhere (5). It invokes significant changes in the positions of the major planets during the history of the solar system, for instance. These migrations have knock on effects which then drive other disturbances in the status quo of the early solar system, leading to the variations witnessed both here and elsewhere. For instance, Dr Morbidelli lists one of the several factors which brought about the Nice model:
A new Trans-Neptunian Object has been discovered whose quirkiness is breaking into new territory. This object, currently named ‘Niku’ after the Chinese adjective for ‘rebellious’, is seriously off-piste and heading in a highly inclined, retrograde motion around the Sun (1). Does this sound familiar? The retrograde motion is something which Zecharia Sitchin claimed for the rogue planet Nibiru. Niku…Nibiru. It sounds like the team who discovered this object, based at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (2), are having a bit of fun with us. Rest assured, this is not Nibiru, or anything like it. That said, something in the past interacted with this object to fling it into its strange orbital path, and at the moment the identity of that strongly perturbing influence is a definitive ‘unknown‘.
Additionally, Niku’s discovery has prompted the astrophysics team to consider a new cluster of objects (high inclination TNOs and Centaurs) which appear to share the same orbital plane. This, in itself, is an unexpected and exciting development. Could the influencing factor be the mysterious Planet Nine (3)?
“…The new TNO appears to be part of another group orbiting in a highly inclined plane, so [Matthew] Holman’s team tested to see if their objects could also be attributed to the gravitational pull of Planet Nine. It turns out Niku is too close to the solar system to be within the suggested world’s sphere of influence, so there must be another explanation. The team also tried to see if an undiscovered dwarf planet, perhaps similar to Pluto, could supply an explanation, but didn’t have any luck. “We don’t know the answer,” says Holman.” (1)