IUFO: On Planet X, The Tenth Planet: Niburu?
Date: 10/21/00 8:16:09 PM Pacific Daylight Time
Thought you might enjoy this. The current interest in this planet
has been around for some time, as you can see from the news items
Search for the Tenth Planet
Astronomers are readying telescopes to probe the outer reaches of
our solar system for an elusive planet much larger than Earth. Its
existence would explain a 160-year-old mystery. The pull exerted
by its gravity would account for a wobble in Uranus' orbit that was
first detected in 1821 by a French astronomer, Alexis Bouvard.
Beyond Pluto, in the cold, dark regions of space, may lie an
undiscovered tenth planet two to five times the size of Earth.
Astronomers at the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO) are using a
powerful computer to identify the best target zones, and a
telescopic search will follow soon after. Van Flandern thinks the
tenth planet may have between two and five Earth masses and lie
50 to 100 astronomical units from the Sun. (An astronomical unit
is the mean distance between Earth and the Sun.) His team also
presumes that, like Pluto's, the plane of the undiscovered body's
orbit is tilted with respect to that of most other planets, and that
its path around the Sun is highly elliptical.
New York Times
A pair of American spacecraft may help scientists detect what
could be a 10th planet or a giant object billions of miles away, the
national Aeronautics and Space Administration said Thursday.
Scientists at the space agency's Ames Research Center said the
two spacecraft, Pioneer 10 and 11, which are already farther into
space than any other man-made object, might add to knowledge of
a mysterious object believed to be beyond the solar system's
outermost known planets.
The space agency said that persistent irregularities in the orbits of
Uranus and Neptune "suggest some kind of mystery object is
really there" with its distance depending on what it is. If the
mystery object is a new planet, it may lie five billion miles beyond
the outer orbital ring of known planets, the space agency said. If it
is a dark star type of objet, it may be 50 billion miles beyond the
known planets; if it is a black hole, 100 billion miles. A black hole
is a hypothetical body in space, believed to be a collapsed star so
condensed that neither light nor matter can escape from its
Does the Sun Have a Dark Companion?
...When scientists noticed that Uranus wasn't following its
predicted orbit for example, they didn't question their theories.
Instead they blamed the anomalies on an as yet unseen planet
and, sure enough, Neptune was discovered in 1846. Now
astronomers are using the same strategy to explain quirks in the
orbits of Uranus and Neptune. According to John Anderson of the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., this odd behavior
suggests that the sun has an unseen companion, a dark star
gravitationally bound to it but billions of miles away. Other
scientists suggest that the most likely cause of the orbital snags is
a tenth planet 4 to 7 billion miles beyond Neptune. A companion
star would tug the outer planets, not just Uranus and Neptune,
says Thomas Van Flandern of the U.S Naval Observatory. And
where he admits a tenth planet is possible, but argues that it
would have to be so big - a least the size of Uranus - that it should
have been discovered by now. To resolve the question, NASA is
staying tuned to Pioneer 10 and 11, the planetary probes that are
flying through the dim reaches of the solar system on opposite
sides of the sun.
New York Times
Something out there beyond the farthest reaches of the known
solar system seems to be tugging at Uranus and Neptune. Some
gravitational force keeps perturbing the two giant planets, causing
irregularities in their orbits. The force suggests a presence far
away and unseen, a large object that may be the long- sought
Planet X. The last time a serious search of the skies was made it
led to the discovery in 1930 of Pluto, the ninth planet. But the
story begins more than a century before that, after the discovery
of Uranus in 1781 by the English astronomer and musician William
Herschel. Until then, the planetary system seemed to end with
As astronomers observed Uranus, noting irregularities in its orbital
path, many speculated that they were witnessing the gravitational
pull of an unknown planet. So began the first planetary search
based on astronomers predictions, which ended in the 1840's with
the discovery of Neptune almost simultaneously by English,
French, and German astronomers. But Neptune was not massive
enough to account entirely for the orbital behavior of Uranus.
Indeed, Neptune itself seemed to be affected by a still more
In the last 19th century, two American astronomers, Willian H.
Pickering and Percival Lowell, predicted the size and approximate
location of the trans-Neptunian body, which Lowell called Planet X.
Years later, Pluto was detected by Clyde W. Tombaugh working at
Lowell Observatory in Arizona. Several astronomers, however,
suspected it might not be the Planet X of prediction. Subsequent
observation proved them right. Pluto was too small to change the
orbits of Uranus and Neptune, the combined mass of Pluto and its
recently discovered satellite, Charon, is only 1/5 that of Earth's
Recent calculations by the United States Naval Observatory have
confirmed the orbital perturbation exhibited by Uranus and
Neptune, which Dr. Thomas C Van Flandern, an astronomer at the
observatory, says could be explained by "a single undiscovered
planet". He and a colleague, Dr. Richard Harrington, calculate that
the 10th planet should be two to five times more massive than
Earth and have a highly elliptical orbit that takes it some 5 billion
miles beyond that of Pluto - hardly next-door but still within the
gravitational influence of the Sun.
Mystery Heavenly Body Discovered, a front page story
A heavenly body possibly as large as the giant planet Jupiter and
possibly so close to Earth that it would be part of this solar system
has been found in the direction of the constellation Orion by an
orbiting telescope aboard the U.S. infrared astronomical satellite.
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.
The most fascinating explanation of this mystery body, which is so
cold it casts no light and has never been seen by optical telescopes
on Earth or in space, is that it is a giant gaseous planet, as large
as Jupiter and as close to Earth as 50 billion miles. While that may
seem like a great distance in earthbound terms, it is a stone's
throw in cosmological terms, so close in fact that it would be the
nearest heavenly body to Earth beyond the outermost planet
Pluto. "If it is really that close, it would be a part of our solar
system," said Dr. James Houck of Cornell University's Center for
Radio Physics and Space Research and a member of the IRAS
science team. "If it is that close, I don't know how the world's
planetary scientists would even begin to classify it."
The mystery body was seen twice by the infrared satellite as it
scanned the northern sky from last January to November, when
the satellite ran out of the supercold helium that allowed its
telescope to see the coldest bodies in the heavens. 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. "This
suggests it's not a comet because a comet would not be as large as
the one we've observed and a comet would probably have moved,"
Houck said. "A planet may have moved if it were as close as 50
billion miles but it could still be a more distant planet and not have
moved in six months time.
Whatever it is, Houck said, the mystery body is so cold its
temperature is no more than 40 degrees above "absolute" zero,
which is 459 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. The telescope aboard
IRAS is cooled so low and is so sensitive it can "see" objects in the
heavens that are only 20 degrees above absolute zero. When IRAS
scientists first saw the mystery body and calculated that it could
be as close as 50 billion miles, there was some speculation that it
might be moving toward Earth. "It's not incoming mail," Cal Tech's
Neugebauer said. "I want to douse that idea with as much cold
water as I can."
US News World Report
Planet X - Is It Really Out There?
Shrouded from the sun's light, mysteriously tugging at the orbits
of Uranus and Neptune, is an unseen force that astronomers
suspect may be Planet X - a 10th resident of the Earth's celestial
neighborhood. Last year, the infrared astronomical satellite
(IRAS), circling in a polar orbit 560 miles from the Earth, detected
heat from an object about 50 billion miles away that is now the
subject of intense speculation. "All I can say is that we don't know
what it is yet," says Gerry Neugesbeuer, director of the Palomar
Observatory for the California Institute of Technology. Scientists
are hopeful that the one-way journeys of the Pioneer 10 and 11
space probes may help to locate the nameless body."