We Are the Night Watchmen

10/25/02 6:24:54 AM Pacific Daylight Time

As Planet-X approaches it has been observed by amateur astronomers to be
zig-zagging horizontally back and forth across it's inbound path.  Some
debunkers have claimed that this alone is proof that it's a complete hoax,
as no celestial body adhering to any known laws of physics could oscillate
in such a peculiar manner.  Unfortunately, this is not an accurate
assessment of the facts.

Planet-X is not actually oscillating back and forth across the sky, it
simply appears to be doing so as viewed from Earth.  The Earth is not
static, but orbits around the sun at a distance of 1 AU (93 million miles)
so it's orbit is 2 AUs in diameter, therefore our Earthly viewpoint is
constantly being horizontally displaced a distance of 2 AUs (186 million
miles) every 6 months.  When viewing a distant celestial body, it's
apparent position against the backdrop of distant stars will therefore also
be displaced horizontally, proportional to it's distance from Earth.  The
greater an object's distance, the smaller it's perceived horizontal
displacement will be.

Try this simple experiment....   Hold a finger up in front of you at arms
length.  This will represent PX.   Now note it's apparent position as
projected upon the surface of a distant backdrop (wall), which will
represent a distant star-field.   Now to simulate Earth's orbit, move your
head from side to side (or to be really accurate make a big circle) while
holding your finger perfectly stationary.  As you move your head side to
side (in it's orbit), note your finger's apparent position as plotted
against the backdrop.  Your finger should appear to move in the opposite
direction across the backdrop as your head's movement.   Now, try it again
while slowly but constantly moving your finger closer toward your body's
center-line.  You should note that as it moves closer, your finger's
apparent oscillations across the backdrop appear to become increasingly
larger.  This is precisely the illusion that is, and will continue to be
observed, as PX continues on it's inbound path towards us, as illustrated

Note:  This graphic has been designed so that it is rotated 90 degrees to
the right in order to better utilize available web-page space, therefore
PX's oscillations appear to be vertically oriented as opposed to
horizontal, which is actually the case.