Nibiru easily ranks as the pseudoscience doomsday scenario I get most questions about. Many people, including teenagers, are terrified that we are all about to be killed by a planet called Nibiru which they think is going to hit Earth or do a close flyby in the very near future, for instance many of them have come to believe that it is going to hit us some time before Christmas, or shortly afterwards.

Most astronomers have probably never heard of it. If you were to explain this to them they would just LOL until they realize you don't mean it as a joke and are deadly serious. For my readers who have come to believe in this "Nibiru", try searching any online forum where amateur and professional astronomers gather, such as  Star Gazers Lounge in the UK which becomes very active each year after the Star Gazers Live show on TV. Search for any planet, say Neptune, and you find 2,581 results (as of searching today). Search for Nibiru and you get 0 results. But now search on google for Nibiru and you may be astonished at how much there is on the topic. And just as with 2012, I never heard the word, or at least not so I remembered it, in more than 45 years as a keen amateur"armchair astronomer" reading everything I could find about astronomy, from before the time of the Apollo landings.

So anyway, here is a section from my recent article: Doomsday Debunked - Nibiru Is Nuts - What About Nuclear War, Asteroid Impacts, Runaway Warming,... It is also an extract from my new book Doomsday Debunked available on kindle, and online. I've done it as a separate article to make it easy to find if you are scared of Nibiru during this Christmas season. Hopefully this will let you see that, whatever else may be happening, at least you no longer need be scared that we will be hit by a planet.

David Morrison first drew everyone's attention to this fear back in 2012. He used to answer questions from the public for NASA's "Ask an Astrobiologist" column.

This video is by David Morrison (distinguished former NASA astrobiologist, expert on meteorite impacts and former head of the Sagan institute), talking about cosmophobia from 2012. 

The confirmed suicide he mentions is of a sixteen year old schoolgirl Isobel who killed herself, because she was so scared the world was going to end in 2012. 

I get emails and comments here from scared children as young as 14, quite commonly. Sometimes they say they are suicidal or that they used to be until they read my articles. Sometimes parents talk about even younger children. Perhaps I can quote one of my comments from my petition, a plea to journalists for responsible reporting of these stories:

"I have a 10 year old daughter who has been affected by these kinds of videos, asking such this as " can we build a bomb shelter" and having nightmares about the world ending . No 10 year old child should have those kinds of worries"

Many of my conversations are public here on Science20 so you can take a look at them yourself. My article with most comments is  "Imaginary Bullshit Planet Nibiru" with over 1000 comments That includes replies so that's about 500 posts from scared people.

So what can we do about this? Well I have tried many things, but surprisingly, one of the most effective is just to give a list of things to look out for to test to see if a site is bullshit. The main problem, it turns out, is that they just don't know how to evaluate these videos, stories and blogs. So, if you are one of those scared of Nibiru, my BS check list may help:

NIBIRU BULLSHIT CHECK LIST

Many of the Nibiru website authors claim to be very knowledgeable about astronomy. It is easy to test though, and find out that they don't understand this stuff. Here are some things they may say which immediately show they are mistaken, don’t have the most basic understanding of astronomy, and don't check their sources.

  • If they say IRAS found a planet in 1983 - they are wrong - just follow the links that the debunkers give and you can confirm for yourself that IRAS did not find any planets
  • If they say Robert Harrington found planet X and was silenced - they are wrong - his theory was proven to be false six months before he died by Myles Standish
  • If they say a planet can hide behind or near the sun for years on end then suddenly appear, they are wrong
  • If they say that the Earth's geographical poles have shifted, easy to show they are wrong by checking any starry night, couple of observations and you see that our pole star is still due North. (Magnetic poles do swap places every few tens of thousands of years but there is no sign of that at present and it would not cause earthquakes if they did)
  • If they publish a lens flare or an offset lens reflection or sunlight lighting up a patch on clouds, and claim it is Nibiru this shows they are very gullible and don’t understand the basics of astronomy.
  • If they post a distant object in Google sky, such as a planetary nebula, hundreds, or thousands of light years away and claim it is Nibiru they are wrong
  • If they claim we have two suns, easy to check, just block out our sun with one finger, and you can see they are wrong

This rather dramatic image has gone the rounds a bit and been posted as a photograph of a double sunset in China. It's actually an artist's impression from NASA of a double sunset over an alien planet.

If someone tells you that we have two suns - then you know they are speaking BS. Click away as that means they don’t have the first clue about astronomy.

It is dead easy to check that we have only one sun. Hold a finger in front of it (don’t stare at the Sun as you won’t know if your eyes get damaged) With the sun blocked, do you see a second sun to either side, or above or below? No! Therefore we have only one sun. It really is as easy as that to debunk this one.

  • If they say that the astronomers' Planet X or Tyche or Nemesis are Nibiru, they are wrong as all the astronomer's hypothetical planets are hypotheses for planets that orbit permanently way beyond Neptune - if they exist they are no more of a danger to Earth than Neptune or Jupiter.
  • If they say that the Nemesis theory predicts end of Earth in the near future they are wrong - the theory (which is more or less disproved now) predicted a possibility of mass extinctions at various dates around 15 million years into the future.
  • If they say that Nibiru is in a 3600 year orbit that goes from outside Pluto to Earth, that's an orbit that is not stable for as long as a million years so they are wrong
  • If they say that “Planet 9” is Nibiru, then they are wrong as it always orbits well beyond Neptune, if it exists at all.
  • If they say a brown dwarf is invisible they are wrong - a brown dwarf is no more invisible than you or me (we also are infrared sources as we are quite warm).

If anyone says any of these things and claims to be an expert in astronomy - that’s like someone telling you that Usain Bolt is a top seeded tennis player and won Wimbledon and then claiming to be an expert on sport.

That wouldn’t lead you to suddenly wonder if he really is a tennis player and wonder if all the Olympic finals were faked to make him out to be a sprinter. You’d just look at the person who said this askance, or indeed aghast, and then from then on you’d probably never trust anything they say on matters of sport.

Usain Bolt winning the 100 meters in Bejing in 2008. If someone told you he was a top seeded tennis player - that would just lead you to treat that person as someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about in matters of sport.

So - it’s like that if you have even a basic understanding of astronomy and someone says any of those things I listed, or posts them on a website, or a YouTube video, you immediately know that this person knows nothing at all about astronomy. They know as much about astronomy as the person who said that Usain Bolt was a tennis player knows about sport.

 

There are many other things they say that are immediate giveaways that they don't have the first clue about astronomy. Indeed if an article claims to be astronomical and uses the words Nibiru or Hercobulus or Wormwood, then unless it is a debunking site, that is a giveaway sign that the author knows nothing of modern astronomy. But what I've listed there already deals with 99% of them probably. That is except for the ones that have no astronomy and just base their prophecies on miracles and the Bible or such like.

If anyone says any of those things, they don't understand astronomy, just click away. See also my Debunking: You can’t trust anyone except the Nibiru people - everyone else is a paid shill of the government or in some other way motivated to propagate falsehoods

And for why astronomers are sure that Nibiru is just nuts, see

Debunked: Nibiru will hit Earth on [Insert Date here]

I have much more on this in the Nibiru section of the book. Here is a contents list for that section and the "Who to Trust" section, and you can see from this how much confusion and fear there is about Nibiru - these are all addressing things that worry many people who have come to believe in Nibiru. I did them originally as separate posts because I found myself posting the same answers over and over to different people who asked me about these things:

WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK "DOOMSDAY DEBUNKED"

For lots more about asteroid impacts, climate change exaggerations ,

The kindle book may be useful if you want it formatted as a book, which you can read on your kindle, and also on most major smartphones, tablets and computers, using the free kindle reading app.

All proceeds from the book will go to suicide prevention charities. At present the plan is to donate them to Befrienders Worldwide. If you buy it on kindle, then it also helps to put it into the best sellers lists there so others may find it too. Of the price of $3.99 for US customers, then $1.86 or 47% will go to charity, and the rest goes to Amazon. It's 70% royalties, but they reduce the royalties if you include graphics as a "delivery charge", and I felt it was important to have plenty of graphics.

MAIN SECTIONS OF THE BOOK

You will find these also in the contents table in the kindle book. These links take you to the online book. You'll find many scenarios there already

(go to detailed contents for online book)

FACEBOOK GROUP

I've made a new facebook group which you can join to discuss this and other doomsday stories that you find scary. also astronomers and scientists, do join if you want to help reassure scared people and help with the debunking.

Please feel free to post any story you find scary, however silly it may seem. Also for astronomers and scientists - when commenting please bear in mind that some here may have decided long ago that astronomy and maths are not for them and others may be young children - children as young as 10 can get scared of Nibiru. Please treat any questions with respect. Ideas that seem LOL silly to astronomers can be truly scary to those without that background.

Doomsday Debunked

Also you can check out my Debunking Doomsday blog which is where I first post articles like this.

Here are some more facebook groups to join, whether you are scared, or want to help doing the reassuring and debunking, see

TALK TO ME

You are also of course welcome to talk to me, via the comments threads on any of my articles, and if it helps to contact me via pm you can contact me via my profile page on Quora. It is easy to join and then you should see an option there to message me.

SEE ALSO


Robert Walker's posts - on Quora

And on Science20


Robert Walker's posts on Science20

KINDLE BOOKSHELF ON MY AUTHOR'S PAGE

And I have many other booklets on my kindle bookshelf

My kindle books author's page on amazon

COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS

If you have any comments or questions do say. Also, if you notice anything that needs to be corrected in this article, however small, even a typo, be sure to say in the comments area, thanks.