Dark Star News 2012-14

by Andy Lloyd

New Object in Outer Solar System Hints at Planet X

Astronomers Chadwick Trujillo and Scott Sheppard have discovered a new distant object beyond the Kuiper Belt, similar to Sedna.  2012VP113 is 450km wide and is orbiting the Sun at 80 Astronomical Units (1), making it the second most distant object in the solar system discovered so far (after Eris (2)). 

"Here we report the presence of a second Sedna-like object, 2012VP113, whose perihelion is 80 AU. The detection of 2012VP113 confirms that Sedna is not an isolated object; instead, both bodies may be members of the inner Oort cloud, whose objects could outnumber all other dynamically stable populations in the Solar System." (1)

What's really exciting about this discovery is its orbit.   Sedna, 2012VP113 and almost a dozen other Kuiper Belt Objects are aligned in an odd way compared with other objects in the solar system.  The implication of this is that there may be another large planet well beyond Pluto affecting their orbits.

"One explanation for the alignment could be the tug of a rocky planet that is 10 times the mass of Earth that orbits the sun at 250 AU, the team calculate. That world would be cold and faint – and would push and pull at the closer objects like a distant but powerful puppeteer. NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) scoured this region of space in 2010 and 2011 searching for a so-called Planet X and came up empty.

"However, WISE was looking for the tell-tale warmth of gas giants – a rocky "super-Earth", like the one Sheppard's team suggest, would be too cold for the telescope to pick up. "This is too faint for WISE," says Ned Wright, the space telescope's principal investigator. Even if the planet has a small internal heat source – and absorbs some sunlight, it would still not generate enough heat to register, he adds." (3)

It's a strange thing, because one of the arguments made against an undiscovered Planet X is that the telescopes available now are so powerful that it is surely not possible that they could have missed a planet ten times more massive than Earth?  Yet, as is indicated above, it is indeed possible at the kind of distances we are discussing here. 

There are likely to be a lot more of these inner Oort Cloud objects discovered in the future.  It's been 10 years since Sedna was discovered, and at the time Sedna also hinted at a more distant object (4).  But Sedna was only one object.  With two objects, we now have increasingly compelling evidence that an unknown major body affected the outer solar system in the past.  Of course, there are other possible explanations for these unusual orbital alignments in these very distant outer solar system bodies.  It may have been a passing star.  It may have been an ejected planet, or early binary companion. Or, it may have been Planet X, which may still be out there affecting these orbits 4.5 billion years later.

What's potentially more remarkable about this scientific Planet X speculation is that the orbit of the proposed Ten-Earth-Mass 'monster planet' would be out at about 250AU, which puts it in the territory for Zecharia Sitchin's Nibiru.  Now, Zecharia Sitchin's proposal for this Planet X body was for a rocky world similar to Earth, but much more massive (5).  Should a Ten-Earth-Mass planet be pinpointed by astronomers - by triangulating the various orbital anomalies of the new inner Oort Cloud objects like Sedna and 2012VP113 - then it would fit the bill for Nibiru.  It was my later revision of Sitchin's theories that introduced the idea of a brown dwarf system, an idea which has since taken hold among Planet X hunters (6).  But the late Zecharia Sitchin always maintained that Nibiru was probably a self-heated rocky world.  He would have been unphased by the following statement, for instance:

"Planet X hopers: Note that NASA just released results from its Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer that found nothing Saturn’s size (or bigger) as far as 10,000 AU, and nothing bigger than Jupiter at 26,000 AU." (7)

Despite this disappointment regarding hopes for a sub-brown dwarf companion, leading outer solar system astronomers seem to be admitting that a massive rocky planet 250AU from the Sun could have been missed by WISE. 

If Sitchin was right all along I would be so delighted.  It would have to be a pretty cold rock, though - however massive - making the life issue a bit of a problem for those hoping to find the Anunnaki on an habitable world with an atmosphere at this distance.  Nevertheless, Planet X is Planet X,  and it's possible that a brown dwarf lies way out there at the edge of the solar system as well.  This announcement could be a game-changer.


Written by Andy Lloyd, 27th March 2014

A further discussion about this discovery and resulting astronomical speculation is on my June Dark Star Blog


1) Chadwick Trujillo and Scott Sheppard "A Sedna-like body with a perihelion of 80 astronomical units" Nature 507, 471–474 (27 March 2014) doi:10.1038/nature13156 http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v507/n7493/full/nature13156.html

2) Phil Plait "Cool Discovery: Another Incredibly Distant Member of the Solar System" 26th March 2014 http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2014/03/26/oort_cloud_revealed_2012_vp113_has_largest_perihelion_distance_known.html?wpisrc=newsletter_jcr:content&mc_cid=c372f6b8f9&mc_eid=f99c16d98f

3) Nicola Jenner "New dwarf planet hints at giant world far beyond Pluto" 26th March 2014 http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25301-new-dwarf-planet-hints-at-giant-world-far-beyond-pluto.html#.UzQuSah_sxG with thanks to Barry

4) Andy Lloyd "Sedna: A Clue to Nibiru" 15th March 2005

5) Zecharia Sitchin "The 12th Planet" Avon 1976

6) Andy Lloyd, Dark Star Theory www.darkstar1.co.uk (1999), "Dark Star: The Planet X Evidence" Timeless Voyager Press (2005)

7) Elizabeth Howell "Discovery! Possible Dwarf Planet Found Far Beyond Pluto’s Orbit" 26th March 2014 http://www.universetoday.com/110719/discovery-possible-dwarf-planet-found-far-beyond-plutos-orbit/#ixzz2xAp9xYKW  with thanks to Lee



New Egyptian Chronology Fits with Return of Nibiru

It is well known that ancient Egypt was unified under one King, Menes, for the first time around 3000BCE.  Until very recently it was thought that the land along the Nile had been originally settled by farmers about 1000 years before that.  As someone interested in the ideas of author Zecharia Sitchin, I always found it curious that Egypt's chronology did not fit closer with the return of the planet Nibiru to our skies, which Sitchin claimed to have occurred around 3760BCE. This appears to be an remarkably important date, marking the beginning of the Nippur calendar and the Jewish count of days.  So, if this date was so significant across the entire Levant region, then why wasn't the chronology of early ancient Egypt also configured along the same lines?  It's a puzzle I have often pondered over.  Fortunately, new radiocarbon dating work, performed by scientists from the University of Cambridge, has lead to a rethink which presents us with just such an alignment:

"Until now, the chronology of the earliest days of Egypt has been based on rough estimates. With no written records from this very early period, a timeline has been based on the evolving styles of ceramics unearthed from human burial sites.

"Now though, scientists have used radiocarbon dating of excavated hair, bones and plants, with established archaeological evidence and computer models to pinpoint when the ancient state came into existence. Previous records suggested the pre-Dynastic period, a time when early groups began to settle along the Nile and farm the land, began in 4000BC. But the new analysis revealed this process started later, between 3700 or 3600BC." (1)

For Egyptologists, this presents new problems, because the gap between the initial inhabitation of Egypt - by groups who farmed the land along the Nile - as indicated by this scientific work, and the acknowledged dates for the unification of Egypt is really rather short; at just several hundred years.  By comparison, a similar evolution from agriculture to civilisation occurred over a much longer time period in Mesopotamia.  So why was there such an accelerated race to civilisation in Egypt during this period? 

Again,  from a Sitchinite perspective, this may tie in with the return of the planet of the gods, Nibiru.  Sitchin argued that the periodic return of Nibiru, which he configures with the Sumerian Shar of 3600 years, fitted with bursts of acceleration in human development:

"Not only the presence of the Nefilim but also the periodic arrivals of the Twelfth Planet in Earth's vicinity seem to lie behind the three crucial phases on Man's post-Diluvial civilization: agriculture, circa 11,000 B.C., the Neolithic culture, circa 7500 B.C., and the sudden civilization of 3800 B.C. [in Mesopotamia] took place at intervals of 3,600 years.  It appears that the Nefilim, passing knowledge to Man in measured doses, did so in intervals matching periodic returns of the Twelfth Planet to Earth's vicinity." (2)

In the case of Egypt, does this argument also apply to the settling and emergence of agriculture along the river Nile, leading to a speedy development towards the high civilisation of the first Egyptian Dynasties?  It would make sense, perhaps adding further credibility to the concept that something remarkable occurred around 3750BCE.

Andy Lloyd, 4th September 2013


1) R.Morelle "New timeline for origin of ancient Egypt" 4th September 2013 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23947820

2) Z. Sitchin "The Twelfth Planet" p415, Avon Books, 1976

An Ancient Warning?

The ancient site of Göbekli Tepe in Turkey has set back the clock of ancient civilisations by thousands of years.  It is thought to date to about 10,000BCE.  Much of it remains underground, still, and is in the process of being slowly unearthed.  As that process continues, its becoming increasingly likely that the key to understanding this most ancient of sites lies in the sky.  However, deciphering any archaeo-astronomical clues is made tricky by questions about the relative chronologies of various parts of the site.

A recent paper written by archaeo-astronomer Giulio Magli speculates that the reappearance of the star Sirius, as the skies shifted over millennia, was the driving force behind the construction of this remarkable ancient observatory (1).  

"I am thus proposing here the possibility that the structures of Göbekli Tepe were constructed to celebrate, and then follow in the course of the centuries, the appearance of a brilliant “guest” star in the sky: Sirius. ...Getting more insight in the symbolic world of the builders would certainly be of help; many of the animals [depicted on the stones] are tempting as representation of constellations, and – curiously enough – one of the most elaborated stelae present an upper register with three “bags” which are pretty similar to the three “houses of the sky” occurring in the much (very much!) later Babylonian “kudurru” traditions." (2)

You can see the "three bags" he mentions in the image of Pillar 43, to the right (3).  Is the Turkish site a very ancient precursor to the civilisations that emerged much later in the Levant?  This seems to be the implication of the shared symbolism employed here. Things take a more intriguing turn a little later into his paper.  Right at the end, he makes a few speculative points, including this rather interesting observation:

"On the pillar 43 of enclosure D a suggestive, unique scene is represented: a sort of vulture with human traits delicately “rises up” with a wing what seems to be a sphere, or a disk. May this be a representation of the Heliacal rising of the newly born star we today call Sirius...?" (2)

This strange depiction seems to me to also share a passing similarity to the Winged Disk symbolism later employed by the Mesopotamians and the Egyptians alike.  The broader astronomical context seems befitting, too.

If this really is a remarkably early precursor to the Winged Disk, then what does that tell us?  Firstly, that this is unlikely to depict the star Sirius.  Secondly, that this entire site is trying to tell us something important about a very, very ancient event in the sky.  Is it a warning to later generations, perhaps?  Putting my Sitchinite hat on, I would point out that the timing of the construction of Göbekli Tepe may provide a further clue.  Zecharia Sitchin argued that the Biblical Flood took place around 13,000 years ago, an event similarly described at length by the Sumerians and Babylonians:

"Our endeavour to unravel the puzzle of the Deluge, then, focuses on Earth's climatic changes, and in particular the abrupt collapse of the ice age some 13,000 years ago." (4)

This event, he speculated, coincided with the transit of Nibiru through the solar system, triggering monumental Earth changes (4).  For a number of reasons, the story of survival after this Deluge is connected with Mount Ararat, which is also in Turkey.  I wonder if this is mere coincidence? 

Consider the following possibility: About 13,000 years ago 'Nibiru' did indeed invoke a massive cataclysm.  Whatever the mechanism, the Ice Age was abruptly brought to a halt by a global tsunami which wiped out low-lying human settlements all over the world.  Water levels rose permanently, and the survivors shifted ground away from the submerged coastal areas and river valleys that they had lived in for generations.  This traumatic period was marked by a desperate fight for survival and renewal which led in turn to an oral tradition that lasted through to Biblical times, becoming the legend of Noah - as well as similar myths all over the globe.

To supplement the warnings in these oral traditions, the ancients constructed complex stone sites to depict the arrival of Nibiru, and warn of what might happen next!  This, I suggest, is what Göbekli Tepe was all about.  This strange disk on pillar 43 held by an anthropomorphic vulture may be the earliest known depiction of the returning planet Nibiru, shortly to be followed by the cataclysm which almost destroyed the ancient world.


Andy Lloyd, 7th August 2013


1)  "Astronomical Alignments at Gobekli Tepe?" 1st August 2013 http://www.dailygrail.com/Sacred-Sites/2013/8/Astronomical-Alignments-Gobekli-Tepe with thanks to Lee

2)  Giulio Magli  "Sirius and the project of the megalithic enclosures at Gobekli Tepe" http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1307/1307.8397.pdf

3)  S. Clouth "Gbekli Tepe Yields Groundbreaking Insights" 13th August 2012 http://beforeitsnews.com/strange/2012/08/gobekli-tepe-yields-groundbreaking-insights-2442550.html

4) Z. Sitchin "The Twelfth Planet" pp401-4 Avon 1976 


Jupiter-like exoplanet challenges planetary formation theory

When I first started writing about Dark Stars back in 1999, I had little realisation that they might turn out to be pink!  At that time, knowledge about brown dwarfs was in its infancy and there had not yet been any discoveries of ultra low-mass failed stars. The larger versions, of masses between twenty and eighty times that of our own Jupiter, were red - despite the tentative moniker 'brown dwarf'.  But as time has gone on, we have started to learn a lot more about the objects on the lower end of the spectrum.  These sub-brown dwarfs are now being imaged, and their colours are turning out to be more magenta than red.  In the case of GJ 504b, which orbits its parent star that's around 57 light years away, the colour is positively pink!  Is this, then, the true colour of our own as-yet-undiscovered Dark Star?

Well, I would say its about the right size, weighing in at 4 times the mass of Jupiter.  Astronomers studying the sub-brown dwarf GJ 504b think its pinkish colour might be attributable to a lack of cloud cover.  It's also a lot younger than any Dark Star we might have circling at some distance from our Sun.  Nevertheless, this might still be what we should expect of a "Nemesis"-style object.  Less returning wrathful god than stylish succubus, n'est-ce pas?

This new Pink Lady, which fittingly lies in the constellation Virgo, is challenging planet-formation theories, too.  Although it is four times more massive than Jupiter, its orbit around its parent star is further out than our own planet Neptune.  Which begs the question of how it formed, given that the accretion disk at that distance should be insufficient to the task of building such a colossal world.  Did it migrate out to that distance?  Or was another mechanism involved in its creation?  Either way, this discovery opens the door slightly wider to the potential for a similar world to have formed in the outer solar system.

Andy Lloyd, 7th August 2013


B. Parnell "Super-SVELTE BLUSH-PINK planet goes too far with star" 6th August 2013 http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/08/06/low_mass_jupiter_exoplanet/ with thanks to Lee



NASA's ENLIL Program

It's interesting to note that NASA's program to monitor the heliosphere is known as ENLIL, one of the chief gods of the Sumerians.  Readers of the Dark Star website will be acquainted with the heliosphere, particularly with regard to the asymmetrical structure of its outer boundary turned up by the exiting Voyager probes (1).  NASA have put this dent in the heliosheath down to 'interstellar fluff', where I have argued that the anomaly may be evidence of the existence of a sub-brown dwarf companion orbiting the Sun in a highly eccentric orbit.  Here's the program's technical blurb:

"ENLIL is a time-dependent 3D MHD [magnetohydrodynamics] model of the heliosphere. It solves for plasma mass, momentum and energy density, and magnetic field, using a Flux-Corrected-Transport (FCT) algorithm. Its inner radial boundary is located beyond the sonic point, typically at 21.5 or 30 solar radii ... The outer radial boundary can be adjusted to include planets or spacecraft of interest (eg 2 AU to include both Earth and Mars, 5 AU to include Ulysses, 10 AU to include Cassini). It covers 60 degrees north to 60 degrees south in latitude and 360 degrees in azimuth." (2)

Theoretically, the model could solve for magnetohydrodynamics calculations right out to the Voyager and Pioneer spacecraft, assuming they can provide useful data. This would then allow NASA to model the heliosphere right out to its boundary with interstellar space, where the interaction of exterior magnetospheres might be measured.  This might include the influence of the interstellar plasma flung outwards from the galactic core, or of local companions whose own magnetospheres might press against the Sun's own shell at its heliopause.

The Sun is a complex MHD system that is poorly understood, where momentum is passed from the Sun to its planets through the expulsion of hot solar plasmas, including violent solar flares. 

"Previously, theories describing the formation of the Sun and planets could not explain how the Sun has 99.87% of the mass, yet only 0.54% of the angular momentum in the solar system. In a closed system such as the cloud of gas and dust from which the Sun was formed, mass and angular momentum are both conserved. That conservation would imply that as the mass concentrated in the center of the cloud to form the Sun, it would spin up, much like a skater pulling their arms in. The high speed of rotation predicted by early theories would have flung the proto-Sun apart before it could have formed. However, magnetohydrodynamic effects transfer the Sun's angular momentum into the outer solar system, slowing its rotation." (3)

Any extant companion sub-brown dwarf would provide substantial angular momentum to the solar system, filling in the gap that this MHD effect currently explains away.  Bearing in mind how mysterious the dynamics of the Sun remain, there is certainly room for debate on this issue.  Furthermore, given the potential link between the magnetospheres of the Sun and a proposed massive companion object, it seems telling indeed that NASA should choose ENLIL as the program's moniker.

Andy Lloyd, 16th July 2013


1)  A. Lloyd http://www.darkstar1.co.uk/heliopause.html

2   "ENLIL: Time-Dependent 3D MHD Model of the Heliosphere" http://gcmd.nasa.gov/records/ENLIL.html with thanks to Lee

3)  "Magnetohydrodynamics" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetohydrodynamics


The Heliotail

NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer "IBEX" has revealed a massive heliotail, extending away from the Sun in a comet-like manner.  The structure of this tail is similar in shape to a four-leaf clover, and rotated slightly due to external interactions from the local interstellar neighbourhood.  Readers may recall that IBEX previously revealed a previously unknown ribbon of energetic neutral particles stretching across  the heliopause - the magnetic boundary of the solar system which the exiting Voyager spacecraft have shown to be asymmetrical.

Various ideas have surfaced to explain the anomaly and, once again, the complexity of the newly revealed heliotail might allude to the presence of a local 'external' phenomenon lurking beyond the heliopause.

Andy Lloyd, 16th July 2013

Reference:  "NASA Spacecraft Maps the Solar System's Tail" 10th July 2013, http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/10jul_ibex/ with thanks to Tarkin


Nibiru Trojans

One of the enigmas of the Planet X phenomenon is the apparent absence of the appearance of 'Nibiru' over the last few thousand years.  The last historical record of Nibiru asserted by Zecharia Sitchin was for 3760BCE. A lot of speculation has filled the void as to when it last appeared.  Its projected 3600 year orbit would place it around 160BCE, but the appearance of a Messianic Star during the Graeco-Roman era creates a whole morass of issues. 

Many have argued for a different timeline where Nibiru appeared during a chronologically adjusted Exodus event. Such a placement around 1600BCE then projects an imminent modern sighting.  Alas, no such luck, with 2003 and 2012 passing without incident. Indeed, modern astronomy's observational power precludes a nearby Planet X body at all.  If it is out there, it really is very distant right now. 

So how can we balance all this against the 3600 year orbit proposed originally by Sitchin?  Here's a new possibility:  Let's say the Dark Star has its own series of Trojan asteroids lying along its orbital path, similar to those which precede and follow Jupiter.  These so-called Trojans occupy stable LaGrangian points along an orbital path.  The Dark Star Trojans might then enter the solar system periodically when the Dark Star is some distance out. 

This additional sighting of what are then essentially Trojan comet swarms as observed from Earth might be an aspect of the 'Nibiru' phenomenon.

Consider:  if one were to stand stationary upon Jupiter's orbit and watch as the gas giant periodically sweeps past.  Well one would first see its Trojans, then the planet, then the following Trojans.  Then nothing for a long time before this sequence is repeated.  Perhaps then the experience of Nibiru is similar.  Comet swarm, Dark Star interference, Comet swarm, then a long, long period of no activity. 

If the Dark Star orbital period is in the order of tens of thousands of years, then it's possible that the 3600 year interval is that between the Dark Star and its Trojans.  This might explain the lack of appearance of Nibiru in modern times;  i.e. the Flood event was caused by the first set of DS Trojans 10960BCE, the Dark Star interference was around 7360BCE, the following DS Trojans then created a predicted and historically recorded visible phenomenon in 3760BCE at a point when the brown dwarf was already a long way out and retreating - and nothing since then. 

This scenario would explain the series of Nibiru events in pre-history, as well as its evident absence since.

Written by Andy Lloyd, 3rd June 2013


Migrating Earth - Science Catches up with Sitchin

This website has argued for years that the evidence in the solar system increasingly points to a migrating Earth scenario.  It seems, on the face of it, to be a rather far-fetched idea.  As with so many things, we take the Earth's stability for granted, when in fact its history is pock-marked with catastrophe and monumental change.  We assume that the Earth was formed at the same distance from the Sun and has stayed there ever since.  But why should that be?

It is said that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.  The evidence for the early migration of the Earth (or possibly the Earth/Moon binary system) takes the form of the water in various parts of the solar system. This water, which consists of a mixture of isotopes, carries its own signature, which various according to where in the solar system the water first formed.  Similarly, isotopic signatures can be derived from the elemental composition of rocks, helping scientists to slowly piece together the puzzle of the early solar system.  Results are proving surprising. 

The arguments involved become complex (and I have tried to do them justice in my book Dark Star, as well as on in-depth analysis on this website) but the picture that emerges from the evidence is that the water on Earth and the Moon is unexpectedly abundant, given how close they are to the Sun, and that the idea of water being brought to the Earth and Moon by comets is an insufficient explanation for what we see here.

I have therefore argued that the best explanation for what we see is that the Earth system initially formed where the asteroid belt is currently now, and migrated in to its current position following an early catastrophic event (involving the Dark Star).  The more distant location for the early Earth provides us with a strong explanation for why the Earth has so much non-cometary water on it: it was too far from the Sun for the early solar heat to have driven the volatile water off.  Such a scenario is in keeping with Zecharia Sitchin's theories of where the Earth formed.

Further grist for this particular mill is now provided by recent studies of moon rocks which, when combined with the newest theories of Moon formation, lead the scientists in exactly the same direction.  Here's the quote from New Scientist: 

"So if the moon's water came from Earth, where did Earth's water come from? The impact that formed the moon happened within about 100 million years after solid bodies began to form in the solar system – an eye-blink in astronomical timescales.  [Alberto] Saal [of Brown University, R.I.] doubts that Earth could have accumulated enough water from asteroid strikes in that time.  "The implication, although I cannot absolutely prove it, is that probably the Earth formed with water," he says. The trouble is that our planet is currently too close to the sun for it to have retained water as it coalesced from the swirling disc of material that was to become the solar system.

Saal thinks that Earth may have formed near where the asteroid belt is now, which is far enough from the sun for water to condense. The planet would then have migrated inward. It'll be a tough theory to prove, because Earth's geologic activity has been recycling rocks, and thus erasing the evidence, for billions of years. That's what makes moon rocks so valuable.

"All that we know now is because we have a fossilised record of what happened 4.5 billion years ago on the moon," says Saal. "We couldn't get that conclusion from looking at the Earth." (1)

It appears that the interior waters of the Earth and Moon have the same source (2), leading to the conclusion that they were always there from the beginning of the life of Earth.  I would imagine, then, that should the Inward Migration Hypothesis be correct, then we should find similar water compositions among the asteroids in the main belt.  After all, if the Earth started its life there and was catastrophically expelled, then shouldn't at least some of those asteroids have been part of the early Earth?  The composition of some meteorites suggests planetary origins, or at least that the were once fragments of very large planetessimals early in the life of the solar system:  

"What is most unusual about these rocks [designated GRA 06128 and GRA 06129] is that they have compositions similar to Earth's andesite continental crust - what makes up the ground beneath our feet," says University of Maryland's James Day, lead author of the study. "No meteorites like this have ever been seen before." (3)

A smoking gun may be around the corner as space agencies and mining companies turn their attention towards asteroids.  Scientists working with the data from WISE are currently piecing together the history of the asteroid families, projecting back in time to glue the pieces of the original 'vases' together (4). It seems evident to me that Sitchin's work is receiving further vindication from cutting-edge science, and that these endeavours will soon offer his idea some long-awaited proof.

Sceptics argue that there is no evidence that a planet larger than Mars ever existed in the zone currently occupied by the asteroid belt.  Furthermore, the very presence of mighty Jupiter in this region makes the probability of the formation of a terrestrial planet not just low, but virtually impossible. 

"“There’s a not a single piece of concrete evidence that would suggest that there ever was a full-sized planet in the asteroid belt,” said Nick Moskovitz, a planetary scientist at M.I.T. “In the region of the Main Belt, it’s dynamically impossible in the presence of Jupiter’s gravitational influence for small bodies to collide and stick together to form a full-sized planet.”

"In truth, the mass of the Main Belt — which extends just past the orbit of Mars to about three and a half times the distance from the Earth to the Sun — has not changed much over the 4.5 billion year life of the solar system. Moskovitz says the belt that we see today is the result of a population of bodies that have spent the subsequent 4.5 billion years interacting and colliding with one another." (5)

I'm generally sceptical when sceptics make such sweeping generalisations.  The history of science is awash with examples of such bold statements proving laughably erroneous years later.  One only needs to review the remarkable variety of extra-solar planets discovered in the last decade or so to see how theoretical positions held by astronomers beforehand subsequently required serious revision. 

Andy Lloyd, 20th -31st May 2013


1) L. Grossman "Moon Water Came From Young Wet Earth" 9th May 2013 http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23515-moon-water-came-from-young-wet-earth.html with thanks to Lee and Beau

2) A. Saal, E. Hauri, J. Van Orman & M. Rutherford  "Hydrogen Isotopes in Lunar Volcanic Glasses and Melt Inclusions Reveal a Carbonaceous Chondrite Heritage"  Science 1235142, 9 May 2013, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2013/05/08/science.1235142

3) Science Daily "Half-Baked Asteroids Have Earth-Like Crust" 8th Jan 2009 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090107134526.htm with thanks to Lee

4) T. Phillips "New Asteroid Families Discovered" May 2013 http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/29may_asteroidfamilies/

5) B. Dorminey "Main Asteroid Belt No Remnant Of Exploded Planet" 31st Jan 2013 http://www.forbes.com/sites/brucedorminey/2013/01/31/why-our-main-asteroid-belt-is-hardly-the-remnant-of-an-exploded-planet/


Habitable Zones around Brown Dwarfs

One of the themes I took up in my novel "The Followers of Horus" was the habitability of a moon orbiting a sub-brown dwarf, and how this might work in practice.  The moon would have to be very close to the primary body to sit within its habitability zone - as Earth (just about) does with respect to the Sun - and the likely outcome of this is that the moon would be in a tidally-locked orbit.  Our own Moon is tidally locked, meaning that it spins on its axis at exactly the same rate as it orbits about the Earth, with the result that it always shows the same face to us.  Similarly, a habitable moon orbiting a Dark Star deep in our solar system would always show the same face towards the failed star, meaning that one side of the planet would be warm, the other much colder.

This, and other issues, have been recently discussed by scientists (1).  A paper considering whether brown and white dwarfs might have habitable systems has become a talking point (2).  Because brown dwarfs are still not very well understood, it is hard to say for sure, but barriers to habitability include the strong ultra-violet light bombarding the moon during the early life of the brown dwarf, causing water to be removed from the surface of the potentially habitable world.  Of course, such a process likely also happened on Earth during the early, hotter stages of the Sun's life, and yet here we are, nonetheless.  This is a point overlooked by academics discussing the possible existence of water on such worlds. 

The impact of water-bearing comets is a possible solution to that issue, and it seems likely that a cooled down sub-brown dwarf system in the comet clouds would also pick up water in a similar way.  Another solution is planetary migration within the system, where the moon migrates into the habitable zone once the brown dwarf cools. 

The surprising abundance of water throughout our own system should give pause for thought before prematurely discarding the potential for life in much smaller systems which, lacking the harmful top-end radiation emission of a powerful star, may be surprisingly conducive to life. 


Written by Andy Lloyd, 12th April 2013


1)  R. Barnes, R. Heller "Habitable Planets Around White and Brown Dwarfs: The Perils of a Cooling Primary" 27th Nov 2012 http://arxiv.org/abs/1211.6467 with thanks to Mark

2)  C. Morley  "Perils of a Cooling Host Star: Life on planets around white and brown dwarfs" 17th Jan 2013  http://astrobites.org/2013/01/17/perils-of-a-cooling-host-star-life-on-planets-around-white-and-brown-dwarfs/


Golden Nanobots

Can the concept of nanotechnology made of gold explain the behaviour of the Anunnaki behaviour on Earth?

Golden Nanobots


The Stations of the Cross

I've uploaded an article I wrote 5 years ago, first published in the German Nexus Magazine and updated a few months ago.  It contains a decent synopsis of the Planet X debate, particularly in the run-up to 2012, as well as some new material about the Stations of the Cross in Catholic churches and a possible connection to Nibiru:

Planet X Before and After 2012


Binary Brown Dwarf Discovery at just 6.5 Light Years


Some remarkable detective work by astronomer Kevin Luhman of Penn State University has revealed the existence of a pair of brown dwarfs located just 6.5 light years from the Sun (1).  Using data from the WISE infra-red survey, he noticed a shift in position of a light source across two of the survey's detailed imaging of the sky during the 13 month period it was active seeking heat sources in the sky. 

The lateral movement of the light source over the time period involved indicated that it was very close in stellar terms.  In fact, it was moving across the sky so fast that it couldn't be in orbit around the Sun.  It was too fast to be Nemesis, for instance.

"After noticing its rapid motion in the WISE images, Luhman went hunting for detections of the suspected nearby star in older sky surveys. He found that it indeed was detected in images spanning from 1978 to 1999 from the Digitized Sky Survey, the Two Micron All-Sky Survey, and the Deep Near Infrared Survey of the Southern Sky. "Based on how this star system was moving in the images from the WISE survey, I was able to extrapolate back in time to predict where it should have been located in the older surveys and, sure enough, it was there," Luhman said.

"By combining the detections of the star system from the various surveys, Luhman was able to measure its distance via parallax, which is the apparent shift of a star in the sky due to the Earth's orbit around the Sun. He then used the Gemini South telescope on Cerro Pachón in Chile to obtain a spectrum of it, which demonstrated that it had a very cool temperature, and hence was a brown dwarf. "As an unexpected bonus, the sharp images from Gemini also revealed that the object actually was not just one but a pair of brown dwarfs orbiting each other," Luhman said." (2)

Given its remarkable movement across the sky, it must have first appeared to be an object within the solar system.  But the distance of 6.5 light years was established by Dr Luhman based upon parallax measurements.  This he accomplished by working backwards through previous sky surveys, finding the object further and further back in time.  Joining the dots in this way provided him with some useful data to get the bigger picture of this object's distance from the Sun.

Here's the thing though - this brown dwarf binary previously evaded recognition despite having been imaged on no less than three separate occasions before WISE, as far back as 1978!  Not only that, but it was moving across the sky at a relatively high speed, which perhaps should have made it more obvious to astronomers on the look-out for solar system objects.  Dr Luhman explains this by noting that the galactic plane has not been covered well in previous searches for nearby brown dwarfs:

"The low galactic latitude of WISE 1049−5319 is likely the reason why it was not found in previous surveys for nearby brown dwarfs, which have tended to avoid the galactic plane." (3)

I applaud the great detective work by Kevin Luhman, but I think that this also highlights how hard these objects are to find, despite the incredibly powerful telescopes and sky surveys that have been used in recent years. Which surely flings the door wide open for more potential discoveries in the years ahead?

Written by Andy Lloyd, 12th March 2013


1)  World Science "Hidden stellar companions revealed almost next door" http://www.world-science.net/othernews/130311_stars with thanks to Gitanjali

2)  B. Kennedy, Penn State Press Release "The Closest Star System Found in a Century" 11th March 2013 http://science.psu.edu/news-and-events/2013-news/Luhman3-2013

3) K. Luhman "Discovery of a Binary Brown Dwarf at Two Parsecs from the Sun" 8th March 2013 http://science.psu.edu/alert/photos/research-photos/astro/LuhmanPaper3-2013.pdf


Newspaper Interview Published

I was recently interviewed by a London Newspaper about Planet X and related material.

The article will be published in print in April, but you can read the interview online on their website:

London Newspaper Interview with Andy Lloyd


Earth Gets Rocked

Russia felt the full force of a disintegrating meteor crashing through the skies this week.  It seemed to be a repeat of the 1908 Tunguska event, albeit on a much smaller scale.  That said, about 1200 people were injured by the shattering of an estimated 200,000 sq m of windows in the Chelyabinsk region in the Urals, so from the point of view of the locals clearing up it was pretty damned awesome in its scope.  Scientific opinion varies about the size of the body that created the massive fireball streaking across the Russian skies, caught so vividly by many car cams (1).  Weirdly, the recognition of the widespread use of dashboard cams in Russia appears to have been the main beneficiary of this story. The explosion in the sky which injured so many Russian folk, and which had the energy of many Hiroshima bombs, has quickly become a footnote to the week's global news events.

People laugh at what they fear, and I guess it should be no surprise that this should quickly bring forth satirical comment from 'serious' scientific media (2).  Doomsday meteorites and resigning Popes in the same week can give us the feeling that the locks to the Apocalypse are being opened one by one.  But what's lost in all of this is the very real threat to us from the sky.  When one is being constantly told that the threat from space is remote, even negligible, and that those expressing concern about any such threat are effectively nutcases, then its certainly sobering to note that these events appear to occur regularly, without warning from astronomers.  The fact is that if the Russian event had occurred over a large city, then the devastation would have been far worse.  And this meteor wasn't even all that large! 

We are reminded that for all the amazing imaging of distant galaxies and other remote sources of light in the Universe, our ability to spot dark objects on our doorstep is still very hit and miss.  This should be a sobering observation as we review our knowledge of our own solar system.  Perhaps more sobering still is the possibility that the incoming rock was shot down by the Russians.  A thought-provoking Russian video had appeared on YouTube that appears to show a streak of light moving towards the fireball just prior to it brightening (3).  It's speculative, of course, but is such an interception plausible? 

Latest estimates indicate that the object struck the atmosphere at about 18 kilometres per second - an incredible 40,000 miles per hour (4).  From there its deceleration would have been extreme:  The sonic boom that shattered all those windows in the region was caused by the meteor dropping below the speed of sound while the space rock was more than 20-30 miles above the surface of the Earth.  Initial entry into the atmosphere to disintegration over Chelyabinsk took just over 30 seconds.   Given that, say, Patriot missiles have a range of about 100 miles and can reach velocities of MACH 5 (5), catching up with a rocky fireball as it brakes down to MACH 1 and lower is plausible - but the Russians would surely have had to have the missile readied when the comet first made entry into the atmosphere, anticipating an interception course.  There's certainly evidence that the Russians are developing their own missile defence systems (6).

Initial media reports in the region claimed that the meteor had indeed been intercepted by Russian air defences, although this was later officially denied (7).  If the Russian video is accurate in its depiction of a missile interception (3), the Russians would have been tracking the object whilst it was still in space.  Which begs the questions - how long did they know about this threat, whom did they inform, and why did they not announce afterwards that they had successfully knocked out a large meteor streaking though the atmosphere over Russian soil?  If the Russians really did knock this thing out of the sky successfully, wouldn't they want us all to know about it?  After all, Putin is about as alpha-male a world leader as you could get, and I would have thought his comet-busting prowess would greatly enhance his strutting on the world stage. 
Perhaps I'm naive though - nations still like to have their secrets and maybe this capability is a big one.  A bigger secret might be knowing that a comet/NEO was in-coming, keeping it secret because it might hit a city and then zapping it fortuitously - you couldn't admit to having known because everyone would want to know why you never told anyone it was in-coming in the first place.  At the moment, NASA's official answer to an incoming asteroid seems to preclude the intercept potentiality: They recommend praying (8).

Andy Lloyd, 21st-23rd February 2013


1)  BBC News "Meteorite fragments found in Russia's Urals region" 18 February 2013 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21494963

2)  Stephannie Pappas Space Rock or Last Pope? What's Next for Doomsday 19th February 2013 http://www.space.com/19851-doomsday-predictions-pope-asteroid.html

3)  Метеорит-НЛО-Челябинск. Нас спасли??? http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=WaQIPBqoQ-Q# with thanks to Barry

4)  Asteroid and Comet Watch, 15th February 2013 http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/asteroids/news/asteroid20130215.html

5)  "Fact file: Patriot missile defence" 4th December 2012 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-20594466

6)  M. Schneider and P. Huessy "Russian Deployment of Missile Defenses" 18th February 2013 http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3590/russia-missile-defense

7)  "Meteorite hits Russian Urals: Fireball explosion wreaks havoc, up to 1,200 injured" 15th February 2013 http://rt.com/news/meteorite-crash-urals-chelyabinsk-283/ with thanks to Lee

8)  I. Klotz, Reuters UK "Large asteroid heading to Earth? Pray, says NASA" 20th March 2013 http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/03/20/us-space-astroids-idUKBRE92J02520130320 with thanks to Barry


Is Phobos a Mined Asteroid?

This is the intriguing question posed by Dark Star editor Lee Covino in this, his first online Sitchinite essay.  This article has created plenty of controversy, becoming the focus of a significant chunk of Linda Moulton Howe's interview on Coast-to-Coast on 28th February 2013.  Lee's article has been updated to address some of the issues raised on the show:

Is Phobos a Mined Asteroid? by Lee Covino


Goldilocks Burns Her Tongue

Scientists have agreed upon a redefinition of the 'habitable zone' around various types of stars.  The zones have shifted away from the stars, highlighting the likely positions planets have to be in to retain liquid water.  The new 'Habitable Zone' in our solar system now lies between Earth and Mars.  These two planets, one enjoying large oceans and luscious habitats and the other apparently dead, are at opposite ends of the habitability spectrum.

"...in our own solar system, the boundaries of the habitable zone have shifted from between 0.95 astronomical units (AU, or the distance between Earth and the sun) and 1.67 AU, to the new range of 0.99 AU to 1.7 AU.  "It's a surprise that Earth is so close to the inner edge of the habitable zone," said astronomer Abel Méndez of the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo." (1)

Given the wealth of life-supporting habitats on this planets, both in hot and cold climates, one would quite reasonably imagine that the Earth should be found in the centre of the life-supporting belt around the Sun.  Sticking with the usual Goldilocks analogy, Earth's porridge is pretty damn hot, as it turns out, and Goldilocks is not amused! 
It's surprising to think that moving the Earth just a couple of million miles closer towards the Sun should effectively wipe out the chances of life here.  Why?  Presumably the thinking is that in the past, being closer to the Sun would have caused the water deposited on this planet to have been swept away by the early Sun's radiation.  Without water, no life could have evolved here.
It seems to me that the theoretical model of habitability now has something of a problem with the fact that this planet is just so obviously life-supporting, even luscious in terms of life and water. 

I think this helps the case for our planet having migrated inwards at some time in the past.  Now, you might argue that Earth was, say, 1.5AU originally, in the habitable zone all along, and then (somehow) migrated inwards to the hottest part of that region once its water/atmosphere ecosystem was well established.  Or, you could look at a broader migration whereby Earth moved in from further afield, affected by larger planets in its vicinity, like Jupiter (or something else...). The inner asteroid belt seems a reasonable suggestion, allowing the water ice on our planet to have become readily established early on, and settling other issues about where the objects from this vicinity ended up.
What is amazing is how little fuss scientists make of this issue.  Perhaps they find it a bit embarrassing as an anomaly.  They readily discuss the migration of the outer gas giants to explain all kinds of blatant anomalies, but when it comes to the Earth seemingly being in the wrong place, they merely shrug their shoulders.


Written by Andy Lloyd, 31st January 2013

1)  Clara Moskowitz "'Habitable Zone' for Alien Planets, and Possibly Life, Redefined" 29th January 2013,

http://news.yahoo.com/habitable-zone-alien-planets-possibly-life-redefined-163711393.html with thanks to Lee



Binary Companions Modelled by Astrophysicists

Implications for the Dark Star Theory and Sitchin's Interpretation of Myth

For those reading the Dark Star theory and related works who wonder whether such a distant object could really be exhibiting such a wildly eccentric orbit, the latest thinking from astrophysics theorists is a resounding 'yes'.  In fact, models of wide binary systems indicate that there is a tendency towards eccentricity over time, with the companion skirting across the planetary system of the main star only very rarely.  

"The orbits of very distant or wide stellar companions often become very eccentric – ie. less circular – over time, driving the once-distant star into a plunging orbit that passes very close to the planets once per orbital period. The gravity of this close-passing companion can then wreak havoc on planetary systems, triggering planetary scatterings and even ejections.

""The stellar orbits of wide binaries are very sensitive to disturbances from other passing stars as well as the tidal field of the Milky Way," said Nathan Kaib, lead author of a study published today in Nature describing the findings. "This causes their stellar orbits to constantly change their eccentricity – their degree of circularity. If a wide binary lasts long enough, it will eventually find itself with a very high orbital eccentricity at some point in its life."" (1)

The stellar companion discussed above would obviously have a much more significant mass than a sub-brown dwarf companion, so its violent impact on the inner planetary system of the main star would be commensurately greater. 

As it happens, the astrophysicists who ran these computerised simulations created scenarios where the Sun had a wide binary stellar object.  They discovered that in over half of the cases they modelled of our own solar system, one of the major gas giants in our system would eventually be ejected.  Of course, that also means that many of the scenarios they considered did not create this level of chaos, and I would have thought that the risk of such massive disruption would be proportional to the size of the binary companion modelled.

Additionally, these binary star orbital evolutions take a significant period of time:

""This process takes hundreds of millions of years if not billions of years to occur in these binaries. Consequently, planets in these systems initially form and evolve as if they orbited an isolated star," said Kaib [postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics]. "It is only much later that they begin to feel the effects of their companion star, which often times leads to disruption of the planetary system."" (1)

This is most interesting indeed.  If the Sun formed alongside a distant sub-brown dwarf companion, then the orbit that companion took around the Sun probably changed greatly over the course of hundreds of millions of years.  It become more eccentric in that time, its orbit eventually evolving to such a point that it grazed close to the Sun, quite a while into the development of the solar system.  This strikes me as being pretty close to the scenario written about by Zecharia Sitchin - the usurper Marduk crashing unexpectedly into the planetary zone after the Sun's system had become fairly well established.  I believe this was the Late Heavy Bombardment event some 3.9 billion years ago - 700 million years after the Sun's birth.  I think that that date, combined with an approximate mass of, say, 10 Jupiter masses, for the proposed companion might provide some useful data points for future modelling of the development of the solar system.

Written by Andy Lloyd, 18th January 2013

1)  "Astrophysicists find wide binary stars wreak havoc in planetary systems" 6th January 2013  http://phys.org/news/2013-01-astrophysicists-wide-binary-stars-wreak.html with thanks to Jim and http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature11780.html with thanks to David


Fomalhaut B in 2000 Year Orbit

Our solar system contains two asteroid belts - the 'warm' on located between Mars and Jupiter, and a second 'cold' one beyond Neptune, known as the Kuiper Belt.  Well, it turns out that other stars - Fomalhaut and Vega - also have these two distinct asteroid belts.  Scientists speculate about whether their planetary systems might be similar to our own, containing multiple planets of varying sizes.  Additionally, Fomalhaut has its very own 'Planet X'-type body (Fomalhaut B), in that as it has a planet in a highly elliptical orbit that lasts about 2000 years:  

"This false-color composite image (above), taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, reveals the orbital motion of the planet Fomalhaut b. Based on these observations, astronomers calculated that the planet is in a 2,000-year-long, highly elliptical orbit. The planet will appear to cross a vast belt of debris around the star roughly 20 years from now. If the planet's orbit lies in the same plane with the belt, icy and rocky debris in the belt could crash into the planet's atmosphere and produce various phenomena. The black circle at the center of the image blocks out the light from the bright star, allowing reflected light from the belt and planet to be photographed. The Hubble images were taken with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph in 2010 and 2012. Credit: NASA, ESA, and P. Kalas (University of California, Berkeley and SETI Institute)" (1)

The planetary and asteroid systems around our Sun may be commonplace.  Can the same be said for additional planets in wide, elliptical orbits?

Andy Lloyd, 9th January 2013

1) "Telescopes find evidence for asteroid belt around Vega" 8th January 2013 http://phys.org/news/2013-01-telescopes-evidence-asteroid-belt-vega.html with thanks to Lee


Photosynthesis in Dark Star system

This website has been advocating the presence of a sub-brown dwarf in the outer reaches of the solar system for many years.  One of the ideas that excited my interest in a massive Planet X object is the potential for life to exist on one of its moons. It's a simple proposition really - the moon is warmed by the heat from the sub-brown dwarf, as well as the stresses created by the moon's proximity to the hot gas giant it orbits around.  The warmth would allow liquid water and an atmosphere around a substantial moon, and then the potential for life - right here in our own solar system, way beyond Pluto. 

But what kind of life are we talking about?  Scientists have a way of down-playing the potential for any kind of complex life in the solar system, mostly due to the evident lack of a supportive environment, like that on Earth.  Even if a Dark Star was able to provide enough heat on its moon for an atmosphere and liquid water, how would vegetation emerge without strong light, like that from the Sun?  Scientists have discovered here on Earth that plants don't necessarily need a lot of the Sun's light to flourish - in some cases, very little.  But that's not the same as saying that vegetation might thrive in a Dark Star system.

Now, NASA are wondering out loud about what plant lie might look like on alien worlds - where the light from the parent star is different to that of our Sun, and the atmosphere contains different gases, creating a different set of conditions for the light that eventually lands on potential plant-life.  For my theory, their conclusions are very exciting.  Far from dismissing the potential for photosynthesis to occur in an environment where infra-red is the dominant light landing on the habitable moon, NASA appear to endorse the possibility:

"Each planet will have different dominant colors for photosynthesis, based on the planet’s atmosphere where the most light reaches the planet’s surface. The dominant photosynthesis might even be in the infrared." (1)

"Light of any color from deep violet through the near-infrared could power photosynthesis. Around stars hotter and bluer than our sun, plants would tend to absorb blue light and could look green to yellow to red. Around cooler stars such as red dwarfs, planets receive less visible light, so plants might try to absorb as much of it as possible, making them look black." (2)

Of course, without visiting such worlds, we cannot yet know for sure.  But the potential for a sub-brown dwarf between here and the nearest star, combined with this new enlightened thinking, presents opportunities for the presence of complex life in the outer reaches of our own solar system.  If there's non-green vegetation growing freely in a hotbed of reddish light and infra-red, then why could animal life not follow?


Andy Lloyd, 6th January 2013

1) Rob Gutro, Goddard Space Flight Center, "NASA Predicts Non-Green Plants on Other Planets", 4th November 2007 http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2007/spectrum_plants.html with thanks to Mark

2) Nancy Y. Kiang "The Color of Planets on Other Worlds" 7th April 2008 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-color-of-plants-on-other-worlds with thanks to Mark


Beyond 2012

As widely predicted, the world did not come to an end on 21st December 2012.  Yay.  While I'm sure that many a modern-day Mayan will be enjoying the festivities of welcoming in the 14th Baktun, there will be many New Age folk wondering what happened.  Just as the end of the second millennium after the birth of Christ did not herald an apocalypse, or even a technological meltdown, so did the turning of the Mayan calendar not bring forth the fires of hell for humanity.  This much we know.  What we still don't know is why the beginning of the Mayan calendar was set over five millennia ago, long before the Mayan civilisation itself got into its stride.  What event in their own prehistory set forth that great rolling stone of time that has now successfully completed its 13th revolution?

Perhaps we may never find out.  But given the lack of an obvious astronomical event to coincide with this year's winter solstice, it does not appear to reflect a prediction of a return of anything, certainly not Nibiru.  Indeed, it has to be said that amalgamating the Mayan calendar and the return of Nibiru was always problematic.  After all, the concept of Nibiru is to be found in the early writings of Mesopotamian cultures, whereas the Mayans appear to have been a purely American civilisation, untouched by the Old World.  Only if they were influenced by a common precursor could one really connect the two, and the evidence for that is scant (although, controversially, it may actually exist).

More likely, then, the connection between Nibiru and 2012 was one of 'common sense' - at least within an alternative, New Age context.  The connection brought together the ending of a long Age and the return of a long-period planet, both of which might ring the alarm bells of imminent destruction.  It is clear why such a concept captured so many people's imaginations.  The problem was always the lack of any kind of evidence underlying this connection, beyond reference to an ancient Celtic text whose own provenance is, at best, questionable. 

Has the hunt for Planet X been damaged by the 2012 connection over the course of the last decade?  Undoubtedly - although that should be balanced against the clear raising of awareness of the issue of a rogue, returning planet among the general population who might never have heard of Nibiru otherwise.  Whether any might go on to ponder the merits of the case for a significant undiscovered planet in the solar system remains to be seen.  I hope they do, because there is still a case to answer.

Andy Lloyd, 21st December 2012


Rocky Worlds can form around Brown Dwarfs

Naysayers in the astronomical community who have doubted that rocky planets like Earth and Mars can form around brown dwarfs have been forced to reconsider.  The minute building blocks of planets appear in protoplanetary disks around normal suns, in the form of millimetre-sized grains orbiting en masse around the fledgling star.  They are then thought to accrete together, coalescing into planets as the developing clumps take on sufficient gravitational power to sweep up the matter around them.  But scientists were doubtful that the building blocks for this process could form around much smaller 'stars', like brown dwarfs.  But now a new study has revealed a protoplanetary disk around a brown dwarf which resembles that of regular stars (1). 

""We were completely surprised to find millimetre-sized grains in this thin little disc," said Luca Ricci of the California Institute of Technology, USA, who led a team of astronomers based in the United States, Europe and Chile. "Solid grains of that size shouldn't be able to form in the cold outer regions of a disc around a brown dwarf, but it appears that they do. We can't be sure if a whole rocky planet could develop there, or already has, but we're seeing the first steps, so we're going to have to change our assumptions about conditions required for solids to grow," he said.

"In the near future, the completed ALMA telescope will be powerful enough to make detailed images of the discs around Rho-Oph 102 and other objects. Ricci explained, "We will soon be able to not only detect the presence of small particles in discs, but to map how they are spread across the circumstellar disc and how they interact with the gas that we've also detected in the disc. This will help us better understand how planets come to be."" (2)

For me, this is an exciting prospect, offering us the first real glimpse of how planets might form around dwarf stars like brown dwarfs, and perhaps in time even smaller objects, like sub-brown dwarfs.  This might then provide insight into how a binary object orbiting the Sun could have developed its own rocky planet system at such a great distance from the heat of the Sun itself.

Written by Andy Lloyd, 1st December 2012

1)  L. Ricci, L. Testi, A. Natta, A. Scholz and I. De Gregorio-Monsalvo. ALMA OBSERVATIONS OF ρ-OPH 102: GRAIN GROWTH AND MOLECULAR GAS IN THE DISK AROUND A YOUNG BROWN DWARF. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2012 (in press)

2)   European Southern Observatory - ESO (2012, November 30). Even brown dwarfs may grow rocky planets: Sizing up grains of cosmic dust around failed star. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 30, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2012/11/121130095118.htm  with thanks to Scott and Lee


Sun's Sibling Tilted the Earth's Orbit

Anomalies in the orbits of the planets, including Earth, have been one of the main arguments for a second sub-stellar body in the solar system.  Potentially helpful to these arguments is the paper just published by astronomer Konstantin Batygin, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1) which proposes that companion stars might be responsible for the way planetary orbits are often titled away from the stellar equator.  In the Sun's case,  its planetary system is misaligned to its own plane of spin by 7 degrees.

Astronomers have been studying extra-solar planetary systems containing Hot Jupiters, and it was initially thought when these strange planets were first discovered that their migration patterns caused the entire planetary systems they moved through to tilt.  But that argument has become more complicated by the discovery of even weirder Hot Jupiters, which themselves exhibit tilted and even retrograde orbits (2).  Something else is evidently causing these remarkable tilts.  And given that the Sun's own system is also tipped, then that mechanism has repercussions for our own system (3).

The new theory recently offered brings to bear the gravitational influence of sibling stars born alongside the star in question. As stars are often born in clusters, the proximity of a nearby star in the cluster can cause the tilting of a star's fledgling planetary system.

""Misaligned orbits are actually a natural outcome of disk migration—once you take into account the fact that planetary systems are usually born in multistellar environments," [Batygin] says, noting that many stars have stellar companions..."I think somewhere in the Milky Way, there's a star that's responsible for tilting us." He suspects the sun once had a companion star that tipped the solar nebula by 7°, then fled the scene after the planets arose." (4)

Once again, we are confronted with the need for a massive companion combined with the lack of companion itself.  While it remains quite plausible that a companion star has indeed moved away from the Sun long ago, it is also surely possible that the same effect might have been achieved through the action of a sub-stellar companion, like a sub-brown dwarf.  Indeed, the very notion that Hot Jupiters might have had sufficient influence to have tipped distant planetary systems lends credibility to such an idea. 

When we consider clusters of stars forming together, we also have to allow for many of those stars being dwarf stars, right down to just a few Jupiter masses.  Therefore, the tipped orbits of the planets around the Sun might also have been caused by a rogue brown dwarf object.  And, given how difficult these things are to detect, its possible that the fellow responsible is still hanging around out there...

Andy Lloyd, 18th November 2012


1) Konstantin Batygin "A primordial origin for misalignments between stellar spin axes and planetary orbits" 15th November 2012 http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v491/n7424/full/nature11560.html

2) Daily Mail, "Backwards galaxy: First planet found that orbits in opposite direction to its star", 14th August 2009, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1206148/Backwards-galaxy-First-planet-orbits-opposite-direction-star.html

3) Damien Gayle "Did a lost star knock the Earth off its orbit? New theory to explain why our planet circles the sun at an angle to the solar equator?" 16th November 2012 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2233992/Did-lost-star-knock-Earth-orbit-New-theory-explain-planet-circles-sun-angle-solar-equator.html thanks to David

4) Ken Croswell "Did a Lost Star Torque Earth's Orbit?" 14th November 2012 http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/11/did-a-lost-star-torque-earths-or.html?ref=wp  with thanks to Lee


Rogue Planet Identified

Astronomers have confirmed the existence of a distant rogue planet moving through interstellar space.  Although it does not appear to be attached to a star system, it is accompanied by a cluster of stars moving in a similar direction. Yet, it is independent of them, leading to a number of question about its provenance (1).

This is the first concrete discovery of a rogue planet drifting through space, in gas giant/brown dwarf category.  In itself, it confirms the potential for many such objects moving pretty much independently through interstellar space.  This is important for people considering the likelihood of Sitchin's Twelfth Planet theory because it confirms that not only do rogue planets of great size exist, but that they perhaps exist in sufficient numbers to make the chances of an incursion into a star's planetary zone a non-negligible possibility.  In other words, it boosts the chances that he was right when he proposed back in 1976 that a rogue planet might find its way into the solar system - up until very recently astronomers discounted this as practically impossible.  They were wrong.
I heard about this discovery on the news last night on BBC radio.  I knew that this must be a sub-brown dwarf, of the category of a 'Dark Star'.  Yet, the term brown dwarf was not used at all (2).  They ended up calling it a 'Lonely Planet'.  Rather poetic, to be sure, but it did make me wonder whether the term brown dwarf has become toxic among astronomers, who fear immediate association with Nibiru/Planet X etc.


1) Lost in Space: Rogue Planet Spotted? Orphaned world may help to explain how planets and stars form 14 November 2012 http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1245/ with thanks to David

2) "The World Tonight" BBC Radio 4, 13th November 2012


Bond vs Bainbridge

One or two scenes from the new Bond movie Skyfall are eerily reminiscent of scenes from my novels, and Bond has transmuted towards Bainbridge.  Judge for yourself:

Skyfall and my novels


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