This is another silly story that is scaring people including very young children and giving them panic attacks. The claim is a fantasy story that a 'black star' (??) at the far side of the sun is going to somehow send powerful earthquakes to Earth on Sunday 19th November from a distance of over150 million miles. There is no truth to this, it's just a made up fantasy like a script for a bad movie. Not even a pseudo science explanation of how it is supposed to do it. We are getting so many comments, posts and PM's about it in our Doomsday / Nibiru support groups on Facebook, and so far there are no news stories debunking the story properly.
Maybe some of the scared people out there will find this story. If that's you - our Facebook group "Doomsday Debunked" is just for you. You can post there about stories that scare you and get replies from others who help debunk them. Or you can join the No Scary Posts version which only gives debunks (you can use PM's to ask for a post to be debunked).
And, just maybe, this story might be found by journalists, or google engineers, who may be able to find ways to solve these issues. Or scientists and others to help raise awareness.
This story is being promoted by the UK "red top tabloids" such as the Daily Express, Sun, Daily Star etc as usual - it's a genre of paper we have in the UK that is expected to include frequent sensationalist and even sometimes totally made up stories. For some reason their stories also dominate the News tab of Google and Google News on topics such as "Planet X"
It has just hit Fox News as well with a title and introduction that for a scared and scientifically naive reader may confirm their fear that this is an event that really will happen. The story then goes on to debunk it but ends with a conclusion that would scare them all over again. Is it meant as humour? If so many who are already scared by this story may not get the joke.
As usual a search for ‘Planet X’ in the news tab of Google is flooded with this fake news - imagine reading this as a 13 year old child, or even younger, and perhaps you can begin to understand how some of them might get scared by this, and then once hooked, get more and more scared. Once you are hooked, it's hard to find anything anywhere that contradicts what these stories say. Of course that's because nobody else will run it because the story is such nonsense. But they don't know that.
So what is the claim this time?
First who is Terral Croft? He is a serial false prophet going back at least to 2011. Quoting from the Cosmophobia 2012 page about him:
"Terral Croft is widely regarded as a cult leader and a scammer. He operates by constructing imaginary disaster scenarios, around which he builds a cult following.
"There is NO scientific support for any of Terral's disaster scenarios. They are based on some of the most ludicrous junk-science imaginable (see below). His following is accordingly drawn from that section of the public who have little or no scientific education.
"His first disaster scenario involved comet Elenin, which he claimed would flip the Earth upside down and cause lethal solar flares (see Timeline below). He claimed that the only safe place to shelter from these events was in deep caves. He then claimed to have found a suitable system of caves in the Ozarks region of the United States. He offered people space there for rent. It is not known how many people actually paid for this, or made the trip to the caves before the predicted disaster date
"When the Elenin disaster failed, Terral declared that it had been a "useful dry run", and that it had been a governmental "psy op". He then constructed a new scenario involving a fictitious "heavy mass object" which is supposedly heading towards Earth during 2012."
Comet Elenin actually disintegrated as it passed close to the sun - as comets often do if they fly very close (icy comet flying close to a hot sun). But if it had survived, it would have passed us at a distance of around 35 million kilometers (around 22 million miles). It never was the slightest threat to Earth.
Unusually Terral Croft doesn't claim that it is the mythical hoax planet Nibiru. Instead it's all about his own invention, an equally mythical 'Black Star'.
This is his diagram, which is supposed to show the path of this mythical ‘black star’. 9. is it’s position on the 15th November and 10 is its position on the 20th, 2017. So as you see he claims this ‘black star’ is at the far side of the sun. To put this in scale, the distance to the sun is just under 93 million miles, or around 150 million km.
He links to the diagram here: Project Black Star Update - Volume 43 (2017)
As you see he claims that earthquakes have been triggered at various points along its path, acting at a great distance counter to any known laws of physics.
He has the other planets in approximately the right place - so maybe he made this diagram using orbital simulation software? See A live view of the solar system
There is no such thing as a “black star” in astronomy. That’s all made up stuff. It’s fiction, a fantasy.
FANTASY AND REALITY - IMAGINING A LEVITATING NEW ZEALAND DOESN'T MAKE IT HAPPEN
It's like, for instance, someone imagining that New Zealand with its mountains, birds and people will slowly levitate 300 meters into the air and hover there for 24 hours. You can imagine that as much as you like but it's just fantasy and no amount of imagining will make it happen. It's like that.
Or to be a bit more concrete, like Buffy the Vampire slayer. Here is an episode called “Hush” when the “Gentlemen” come to their place and steal everyone’s voices. At this point all the characters have already had their voices "stolen".
So here is how it works:
- They come to a town
- They steal the voices so no-one can scream
- They cut out people’s hearts
- They need seven hearts and already have two
- No sword can kill them
- But when the princess screamed they all die - so the only defense is to scream and if you do that they will all die.
- It doesn't work to play a reproduction of a scream - it has to be a real voice
So what can they do? Well I won't spoil the episode if you haven't seen it.
But, where do all these rules come from? It’s because the script writers thought it would make for an entertaining episode of Buffy. There is no other reason for it.
So it is the same with Terral Croft’s “Black star”. He is the inventor of this fantasy and his rules govern it. He says whatever he likes about 'black stars' and there is nobody to contradict him. To do so would be like telling the script writer for "Hush" that they got the rules wrong.
But this is reality, not a movie. So who cares what his fantasy is in detail? It will remain a fantasy no matter how many of these undiscriminating news sites choose to publish it.
DO ASTRONOMERS TALK ABOUT 'BLACK STARS' - EVER?
Well I only know of one way the term is used. I found this mention of “black star”
"…The black star is the location of the active starburst region"
Here is a close up of it
No, it’s not a stellar object - you’ve probably guessed already. It’s just a black star notation added by the illustrator to mark the position of interest - an “X marks the spot” The article is here: Solving the Mystery of Cosmic Rays' Origins - Universe Today
- Red giants
- Blue giants
- Yellow dwarfs
- Orange dwarfs
- Red dwarfs
- Black holes
- White dwarfs (strictly speaking a white stellar remnant)
To someone who has no idea about astronomy it might seem you can just make up names like that. Why not a “black star”?
Well, no, that just is not a term used by astronomers. It means nothing.
To make this clearer I tried inventing a new name myself, by combining “Tartan” with “planet”. to get a “Tartan Planet” :)
Needless to say there are no tartan planets. This is just a joke.
I then made it into this “poster” poking a joke at his idea.
BUT HE PREDICTS EARTHQUAKES!
His “evidence” for it is in the form of earthquakes. He says we will have more earthquakes as the “black star” approaches.
Earthquakes are a favourite of false prophets as they are so common.
It’s random, so they don’t happen at regular intervals or a fix number per year or month or day. But as a rough guide:
- Magnitude 8 - 8.9 usually one or two times a year (four times in 2007, none in 2008)
- Magnitude 7 - 7.9 one or two times a month
- Magnitude 6 - 6.9 happen two or three times a week somewhere in the world.
- Magnitude 5 - 5.9 happen around 2–3 times a day
- Magnitude 4 - 4.9 happen every hour or two.
- every time an earthquake hits the news, others become newsworthy for a few days. These numbers are from the USGS Earthquake Statistics - Worldwide Earthquakes 2000–2016
This is a summary
Source BGR - Earthquake statistics
He can predict that we will have lots of earthquakes this month because we always will. Go down to magnitude 5 which is still enough to hit the news, and you get several of those every day somewhere in the world. And nobody checks to see if we had more in previous years than this one.
Every time there are major earthquakes he can say “Ah that was caused by the ‘black star’.
It’s very easy to prophecy earthquakes. Anyone can do that. You don’t need to know anything about earthquakes. Just say “we will have earthquakes tomorrow”. It’s almost as guaranteed as saying “the sun will rise tomorrow (unless you are in the arctic or antarctic regions).
What is difficult is to prophecy an individual earthquake in a particular place. So far nobody can do that (except over seconds, warn people before the shock from a quake gets to them). And he can’t do that.
BUT WHAT ABOUT ALL THE DETAILS?
“But look at the details! How can it be fake when they have so many details - and they all fit together so well!”
Well look at Buffy the Vampire slayer episode. It’s just the same. Lots of details, fit together to make a coherent story, one that makes sense within the fictional world of Buffy.
Similarly Terral Croft’s ideas make sense within the fictional world created by Terral Croft. Especially since he never explains how it is that the “Black star” creates earthquakes.
It’s just fiction. Just story telling. Entertainment.
There is nothing to be scared of!
- We are NOT having more earthquakes than usual - Earth is NOT going to crack open - and Nibiru is NONSENSE :) - also has a section on PROTECTION AGAINST EARTHQUAKES
- Debunked: End of world from ‘Black Star’ on November 19 2017
And more about the tartan planet / black star poster here
WHY A SUN SIMULATOR IS IMPOSSIBLE
Some are linking it with the idea of a “sun simulator” - the bizarre idea that NASA or someone has built a huge lens system in space large enough to hide the sun and a region around it, in order to hide planets close to the sun from our view. It's not even remotely within our capabilities even if you figured out some way to make it work. To construct a "lens" only one millimeter thick and the diameter of the Earth between us and the sun would require a million launches a day of either the US Delta IV heavy or the Chinese Long March 5, our current heaviest lift rockets, for 35 years. I think somehow someone would notice :).
I’m not sure why but in any case I get asked this frequently in connection with this story - so here is the debunk to show that this is impossible:
- Debunked: NASA or other organizations have huge mirrors in space that hide Nibiru and create a fake sun, in order to avoid scaring us (‘sun simulator’)
See also List of the articles in my Debunking Doomsday blog to date and you can try searching that page for a word like “Nibiru” or “Yellowstone” or whatever to find articles of interest.
Also if you want to help make a difference, you can sign and share these petitions- and do have a look at the comments to get an idea of the scale of the problem. Click “Join Conversation” to see more of them.
- To Google - please do something about the nonsense in Google News!
- To Youtube: Halt Ads on Doomsday Videos
- To Journalists: Debunk Rather than Dramatize "Doomsday" Stories - The Vulnerable Get Suicidal
You may also be interested in my:
- Google News Without The Nonsense. It’s much the same as Google News, with the sensationalist nonsense fake news filtered out. Try sorting it “by relevance” as well as “by date”
WHAT ABOUT YOUR ARTICLES ON PLANETARY PROTECTION, GARDENING ON THE MOON ETC ETC?
For those who follow me on topics like my An Astronaut Gardener on the Moon, planetary protection etc - I'm still mid edit of my latest online book "Touch Mars?" which is around 1600 pages on last count and I think one of the first books completely devoted to planetary protection (the only other one I know is "When Biospheres Collide").
However, I stopped working on it for a few weeks to help all these scared people. I expect to start work on it part time soon - but it may be a busy time up to Christmas as that's the time when we get most doomsday stories of all usually. Will see how it goes.