Planet nibiru is not real space earthsky gasco abu dhabi location

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Hear ye! Hear ye! Nibiru, the fictitious planet in the hyped-up 2012 doomsday scare, is not real! This putative world has made a big splash in the human imagination and cyberspace, but there’s not the slightest trace of a ripple of it upon our solar system and planet Earth. There is simply no evidence that it actually exists, despite the claim that Nibiru will be in closest proximity to the Earth between Aug 17 and Sept 26. The idea is that a planet-sized object – sometimes called Nibiru, sometimes Planet X – will collide with or pass by Earth in 2012. But this idea is not supported by any scientific evidence and has been rejected as pseudoscience by astronomers and planetary scientists.

This video is courtesy of David Morrison, who is a senior scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute at NASA Ames Research Center in California. Morrison has said he hopes that the non-arrival of Nibiru will serve as a teaching moment for the public, instructing us all on “rational thought and baloney detection.” But he also says he doubts that will happen.

Enter a woman named Nancy Lieder, founder of a website called ZetaTalk. Lieder describes herself as an alien contactee with the ability to receive messages from extra-terrestrials from the Zeta Reticuli star system through an implant in her brain. She predicted the return of Nibiru in May 2003. When that event failed to materialize, doomsday prognosticators forwarded the arrival date to 2012.

And why not 2012? After all, the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar – used by the pre-Columbian Mayan civilization among others – completes a cycle in 2012. Unless you’ve been on the dark side of the moon, you know that this ending of a cycle in the Mayan calendar has caused its own doomsday stir. It is probably the reason 2012 has become so littered with doomsday predictions.

Given that its orbital period is 3,600 years, and that it is now the latter part of 2012, Nibiru should be well inside of Jupiter’s orbit by now. Dazzling Jupiter, the fifth planet outward from the sun, is impossible to miss with the unaided eye. In fact, you can view Jupiter’s four major moons with ordinary binoculars. So why is Nibiru nowhere to be seen?

If the semi-major axis = 235 astronomical units (AU), then the major axis = 470 AU. We know Nibiru’s orbit around the sun can’t be a perfect circle ( orbital eccentricity = 0) because, if that were the case, it would always be 235 AU from the sun and never reach the inner solar system. Assuming that Nibiru comes to within one astronomical unit (AU) of the sun, the outer edge of its orbit must recede as far as 469 AU from the sun. Thereby, the orbit would have to be a very squashed ellipse with an extreme eccentricity of 0.9957 (234/235 = 0.9957). The flattened orbit would more resemble the outer edge of a toothpick than a circle in shape.

An orbit with such a high eccentricity is highly unstable. Now that we know the planet’s semi-major axis, we can use what’s known as the Vis-viva equation to figure Nibiru’s orbital speed at any distance from the sun. I find that at the Earth’s distance from the sun, Nibiru would be flying at nearly 42.1 kilometers per second.

Quite by coincidence, that 42.1 km/sec figure represents the escape velocity from our solar system at a distance of one astronomical unit from the sun. Because Nibiru would be traveling at or near escape velocity, the slightest perturbation by another solar system object would destabilize its orbit and likely eject Nibiru from the solar system. It would, that is, if there were a Nibiru.