The Nibiru collision is a supposed encounter between the Earth and a large planetary object (either a collision or a near-miss) which certain groups believe will take place in the early 21st century. Believers in this doomsday event usually refer to this object as Planet X or Nibiru.
The idea was first proposed in 1995 by Nancy Lieder, founder of the website ZetaTalk. Lieder describes herself as a contactee with the ability to receive messages from extra-terrestrials from the Zeta Reticuli star system through an implant in her brain. She states that she was chosen to warn mankind that the object would sweep through the inner Solar System in May 2003, later revised to around 2010, causing Earth to undergo a pole shift that would destroy most of humanity. The predicted collision has subsequently spread beyond Lieder’s website and has been embraced by numerous internet doomsday groups, most of which link the event to the 2012 phenomenon. Although the name “Nibiru” is derived from the works of ancient astronaut writer Zecharia Sitchin and his interpretations of Babylonian and Sumerian mythology, Sitchin himself denies any connection between his work and claims of a coming apocalypse.
The idea that a planet-sized object could possibly collide with Earth in the near future is not supported by any scientific evidence and has been roundly rejected as pseudoscience by astronomers and planetary scientists.
The idea of the Nibiru collision originated with Nancy Lieder, a Wisconsin woman who claims that as a girl she was contacted by gray extraterrestrials called Zetas, who implanted a communications device in her brain. In 1995, she founded the website ZetaTalk to disseminate her ideas. Lieder first came to public attention on internet newsgroups during the build-up to Comet Hale-Bopp’s 1997 perihelion. She stated, speaking as the Zetas, that “The Hale-Bopp comet does not exist. It is a fraud, perpetrated by those who would have the teeming masses quiescent until it is too late. Hale-Bopp is nothing more than a distant star, and will draw no closer.” She claimed that the Hale-Bopp story was manufactured to distract people from the imminent arrival of a large planetary object, “Planet X”, which would soon pass by Earth and destroy civilization. After Hale-Bopp’s perihelion revealed it as one of the brightest and longest-observed comets of the last century, Lieder removed the first two sentences of her initial statement from her site, though they can still be found in Google’s archives. Her claims eventually made the New York Times.
Lieder described Planet X as roughly four times the size of the Earth, and said that its perigee would occur on May 27, 2003, resulting in the Earth’s rotation ceasing for exactly 5.9 terrestrial days. This would be followed by the Earth’s pole destabilising in a pole shift (a physical pole shift, with the Earth’s pole physically moving, rather than a geomagnetic reversal) caused by magnetic attraction between the Earth’s core and the magnetism of the passing planet. This in turn would disrupt the Earth’s magnetic core and lead to subsequent displacement of the Earth’s crust.
After the 2003 date passed without incident, Lieder said that it was merely a “White Lie … to fool the establishment,” and said that to disclose the true date would give those in power enough time to declare martial law and trap people in cities during the shift, leading to their deaths.
Lieder’s Planet X idea first spread beyond her website in 2001, when Mark Hazlewood, a former member of the ZetaTalk community, took her ideas and published them in a book: Blindsided: Planet X Passes in 2003. Lieder would later accuse him of being a confidence trickster.
Japanese cult the Pana Wave Laboratory, which famously blocked off roads and rivers with white cloths to protect itself from electromagnetic attacks, also warned that the world would end in May 2003 after the approach of a tenth planet.
Many internet sites continue to proclaim that “Planet X” or “Nibiru” is en route to Earth, often citing its arrival date as December, 2012. This date has gathered many apocalyptic associations, as it is the end of the current cycle (baktun) in the long count in the Mayan calendar. Several writers have published books connecting the Nibiru collision with 2012, including Marshall Masters and Jaysen Rand. Hazlewood has since changed his views on Planet X, and now says that there are intelligent alien forces acting to protect us as a species, and that we are set to ascend to a higher level of consciousness in 2012.
Although Lieder originally referred to the object as “Planet X”, it has become deeply associated with Nibiru, a planet from the works of ancient astronaut proponent Zecharia Sitchin, particularly his book The 12th Planet. According to Sitchin’s interpretation of Babylonian religious texts, which contravenes every conclusion reached by credited scholars on the subject, a giant planet (Nibiru or Marduk) passes by Earth every 3,600 years and allows its sentient inhabitants to interact with humanity. These beings, which Sitchin identifies with the Annunaki of Sumerian myth, would become humanity’s first gods. However, Sitchin denies any connection between his work and Lieder’s claims, and it was Lieder who initially made the connection on her site (“Planet X does exist, and it is the 12th Planet, one and the same.”). In 2007, partly in response to Lieder’s proclamations, Sitchin published a book, The End of Days, which set the time for the last passing of Nibiru by Earth at roughly 600 BC, which would mean, given the object’s supposed 3,600–year orbit, it would be unlikely to return in less than 1,000 years.
Lieder drew the name Planet X from the hypothetical planet once searched for by astronomers to account for discrepancies in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune. In 1894, Bostonian astronomer Percival Lowell became convinced that the planets Uranus and Neptune had slight discrepancies in their orbits. He concluded that they must be being tugged by the gravity of another, more distant planet, which he called “Planet X”. However, nearly a century of searching failed to turn up any evidence for such an object (Pluto was initially believed to be Planet X, but was later determined to be too small). In 1992, astronomer Myles Standish showed that the supposed discrepancies in the planets’ orbits were illusory; the product of an overestimation of the mass of Neptune. Today astronomers accept that Planet X does not exist.
Still others refer to Lieder’s object as Eris; however, Eris is a dwarf planet only slightly larger than Pluto with a well-determined orbit that never takes it closer than 5.5 billion km from the Earth. Astronomer Mike Brown, who discovered Eris, believes the confusion results from both the real Eris and the imaginary Nibiru having extremely elliptical orbits.
Astronomers point out that such an object so close to Earth would be easily visible to the naked eye (Jupiter and Saturn are both visible to the naked eye, and are dimmer than Nibiru would be at their distances), and would be creating noticeable effects in the orbits of the outer planets. Some counter this by claiming that the object has been hiding behind the Sun for several years, though such a claim is geometrically impossible. Images of Nibiru near the Sun taken by amateurs are usually of lens flares, false images of the Sun created by reflections within the lens.
Mike Brown notes that if this object’s orbit were as described, it would only have lasted in the Solar System for a million years or so before Jupiter expelled it, and that there is no way another object’s magnetic field could have such an effect on Earth. Lieder’s assertions that the approach of Nibiru would cause the Earth’s rotation to stop or its axis to shift violate the laws of physics. In his rebuttal of Immanuel Velikovsky’s Worlds in Collision, which made the same claim that the Earth’s rotation could be stopped and then restarted, Carl Sagan noted that, “the energy required to brake the Earth is not enough to melt it, although it would result in a noticeable increase in temperature: the oceans would [be] raised to the boiling point of water . . . [Also,] how does the Earth get started up again, rotating at approximately the same rate of spin? The Earth cannot do it by itself, because of the law of the conservation of angular momentum.”
Many believers in the imminent approach of Planet X/Nibiru accuse NASA of deliberately covering up visual evidence of its existence. One such accusation involves the IRAS infrared space observatory, launched in 1983. The satellite briefly made headlines due to an “unknown object” that was at first described as “possibly as large as the giant planet Jupiter and possibly so close to Earth that it would be part of this Solar System”. This newspaper article has been cited by proponents of the collision idea, beginning with Lieder herself, as evidence for the existence of Nibiru. However, further analysis revealed that of several unidentified objects, nine were distant galaxies and the tenth was “intergalactic cirrus”; none were found to be Solar System bodies.
Another accusation frequently made by websites predicting the collision is that the US government built the South Pole Telescope to track Nibiru’s trajectory, and that the object has been imaged optically. However, the SPT (which is not funded by NASA) is a radio telescope, and cannot take optical images. Its South Pole location was chosen due to the low-humidity environment, and there is no way an approaching object could be seen only from the South Pole. The “picture” of Nibiru posted on YouTube was revealed to in fact be a Hubble image of the expanding gas shell around the star V838 Mon.
The impact of the public fear of a Nibiru collision has been especially felt by professional astronomers. Mike Brown now says that Nibiru is the most common pseudoscientific topic he is asked about.
David Morrison, a CSI Fellow and Senior Scientist at NASA’s Astrobiology Institute at Ames Research Center, says he receives 20–25 emails a week about the impending arrival of Nibiru; some frightened, others angry and naming him as part of the conspiracy to keep the truth of the impending apocalypse from the public. Half of these emails are from outside the US. “Planetary scientists are being driven to distraction by Nibiru,” notes science writer Govert Schilling, “And it is not surprising; you devote so much time, energy and creativity to fascinating scientific research, and find yourself on the tracks of the most amazing and interesting things, and all the public at large is concerned about is some crackpot theory about clay tablets, god-astronauts and a planet that doesn’t exist.” Morrison states that he hopes that the non-arrival of Nibiru could serve as a teaching moment for the public, instructing them on ‘rational thought and baloney detection’, but doubts that will happen.
A viral campaign for Sony Pictures’ 2009 film 2012, directed by Roland Emmerich, which depicts the end of the world in that year, featured a supposed warning from the “Institute for Human Continuity” that lists the arrival of Planet X as one of its doomsday scenarios. Mike Brown attributes a spike in concerned emails and phone calls he received from the public to this site.
Personally, I believe that if a celstial body of that size were in our solar system, there would be evidence that could not be ignored or otherwise refuted. This 2012 phenomena sure makes for a good story though. For more information on the topic, you can visit the following FAQ site NASA has posted HERE