Astronomer David Morrison, Senior scientist with the NASA Lunar Science Institute, coined the term ‘cosmophobia’1 after answering questions at the NASA “Ask an Astrobiologist” page. He defined it as “An unreasoning fear of the cosmos”, and created a short list of items that people are worried about.
A presentation at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s annual meeting in Tuscon in August 2012 was titled “Doomsday 2012 and Cosmophobia: Challenges and Opportunities for Science Communication” and is available for viewing via NASA’s website.
This site grew out of the 2012hoax website, at the end of 2012. It was felt that despite the fact that 2012 had ended without the various predictions of doom and destruction the resources gathered under the 2012hoax website would still be necessary in the future. Many of the predictions made about 2012 originated well before 2012, and would continue to be claimed well after 2012.
This site will deal with various claims that invoke ‘cosmophobia’, where the fear factor is pumped up in claims in order to make something fairly mundane sound sinister and threatening. In addition to claims made about astronomy, we will also look into claims touching on other fields of science such as geology and vulcanology. We will approach all claims from a perspective of skeptical inquiry. The claimant must provide evidence that supports their claims, and extraordinary claims will require extraordinary evidence.
A Brief History of Planet X
Planet X has been hijacked… or rather the term “Planet X” has.
Historically, “Planet X” referred to a generic hypothetical undiscovered planet.
The actual science
Observations of the orbits of Uranus and Neptune suggested the possibility of another object beyond Neptune and a world-wide search for “Planet X” culminated in 1930 with the discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh. Pluto was later determined to not be massive enough to account for the discrepancies, and years later Robert Harrington of the U.S. Naval Observatory collaborated with T.C. Van Flandern in a search for an additional “Planet X”1. On August 25, 1989 the spacecraft Voyager 2 flew by Neptune, and made measurements which more precisely estimated Neptune’s mass, and as a result, the ‘discrepancies’ in Neptune’s orbit disappeared. Harrington became very critical of the “Planet X” idea after that point.
It is frequently claimed that Robert Harrington was killed off by the government because he actually discovered Planet X. However, Harrington actually died from esophageal cancer in 19932.
Another search for “Planet X” culminated with the discovery of more Dwarf Planets: Eris, Haumea and Makemake.
Nancy Lieder: Alien Contactee
In 1995, Nancy Lieder began posting on Usenet, including the groups sci.astro and alt.alien.visitors. In September of 1995 she posted a lengthy rant that Comet Hale-Bopp didn’t really exist, but rather that it was “… a fraud, perpetrated by those who would have the teeming masses quiescent until it is too late.” and warning about “the 12th planet”. Shortly thereafter she renamed the object “Planet X”, and since then the term “Planet X” has been associated with Lieder’s fictional object.
Lieder claims on her website that she is in telepathic communication with gray aliens from the Zeta Reticuli system (which she calls ‘Zetas’). Zeta Reticuli is a wide binary star, but there is no confirmed evidence of planets in that system yet. It is a popular target for claims of UFO origins. She claims to have become aware of her contactee status in 1993, and that she was selected as “a communicator of the Zeta message” and “… allowed her brain to be implanted with Zetan genetic material” several times, so that she is now able to communicate telepathically with the Zetas. She also makes several other claims about her interactions with the Zetas which are detailed on the Nancy Lieder page.
The goal of the Zetas is apparently to warn us of the impending doom caused by Planet X. They apparently intend to accomplish this through their “Emissary”, Nancy Lieder. They also apparently use crop circles, and other ‘subtle message’ techniques, because apparently we’re too stupid to get it if they just, for example, landed at the U.N. and told everybody.
Those Erroneous Aliens
The Zetas, for a space-faring race, have an abysmally poor grasp of basic astronomy. Their descriptions of the movements of “Planet X” contradict known facts about planetary motions. For example, they describe it moving from 40AU to 1AU in less than 5 years, ignoring Kepler’s laws. When questioned on this point, their reply is to question everything we know about planetary motions. Apparently Lieder and the Zetas find that magnetism is a much bigger factor than gravity. Planets are described as having ‘wakes’, as ‘stopping’ suddenly due to ‘particle flows’, and as performing impossible orbital gymnastics. Their explanations of why we can’t see Planet X are equally laughable. But, the real eye-openers are the Zeta’s claims about the ‘Pole Shift'. We challenge you to read that page, and discern a coherent message.
Lieder’s Planet X
Lieder’s planet X is described as being the same as Sitchin’s “12th Planet”, as being “4 times the size of earth” and “23 times the mass of earth”3 and “highly magnetic” and “smoldering”. Again, Lieder and the Zetas ascribe much more significance to magnetism than they do to gravity, contrary to observed science. They also mis-characterize Planet X as a ‘brown dwarf’, even though it is not nearly massive enough. When challenged on this, Lieder retorts that our (human) definition is “limited”.
Also in the cast of characters was Mark Hazelwood. Hazelwood was instrumental in pushing Planet X in 2002, in what appears primarily to have been a money-making scheme. He… um… borrowed claims from the ZetaTalk website (which he now claims misled him and is also acting as an agent for government disinformation) and published them in a book. Hazelwood and Lieder are now pointing fingers at each other, each claiming that the other is an agent of government disinformation.
2012 proponents would like you to believe that NASA is hiding information from us. They point to a paper published a couple of decades ago, or to a press conference in 1983, and misquote or mis-characterize in order to hint at something, and then point to the complete lack of supporting evidence as evidence of a cover-up! This rather clever argument can be used in so many ways! For example, did you know that garlic deters Vampires? Really, it’s true! Have you ever seen someone wearing a garlic necklace who was bitten by one? One of us lives in Gilroy, CA, and can confirm that there are no Vampires to be found in “The Garlic Capital”.
Phil Plait points out that the 2012 proponents “… want it both ways: they want NASA to be so good they can change journal articles, web pages, astronomical catalogs and more with iron-clad authority, but so bumbling they couldn’t keep two astronomers and a DC reporter shut up. Puhleeze!”
Planet X behind schedule
Planet X was originally supposed to arrive in 2003. When that date came and went, Lieder claimed that the date had been a ‘White Lie' to confuse and disorient ‘the establishment’. She later claimed that it had arrived, but was so close to the sun that it was impossible to see. Every few weeks she will post an update describing Planet X as being “to the right of the sun” or “moving above the ecliptic”, etc. However, the “passage” of Planet X (when it comes closest to the Earth) has now apparently been ‘rescheduled’ for 2012 (specifically, sometime after 2010). Maybe it got hijacked by a set of rogue aliens?
Why we can’t see Planet X
When several people pointed out that we should be able to see this object, Lieder’s rather fanciful explanation was that Planet X was “displaying multiple personas” and that “red light tends to bend toward gravity” and that Planet X was “shrouded in dust”
Nancy and the Zetas appear a bit confused about how light behaves as well:
The Red Persona, which creates an Occulted Sun when close to the Sun or a Second Sun when separate, is the bulk of red light from Planet X, which has bent toward the Sun aggressively and thus appears close to the Sun on all occasions. This persona is formed from light that took a boomerang path, moving toward the Sun but diverted almost directly toward the Earth.
As we noted on the Nibiru page, there are a fairly well-known set of laws that govern planetary motions. On the Nibiru page we demonstrated how those laws could be used to make certain predictions about Nibiru’s orbit.
In the case of “Planet X” as described by Lieder, we will have to throw those laws out, because it seems to simply ignore them. Planet X is described as being in a ‘sling orbit', running a racetrack between our sun and an ‘unlit binary companion’ which is described as being “….18.74 times the distance from your Sun to Pluto….”. Since Pluto’s average distance is 39.5 AU then this ‘unlit binary companion’ must be 740.23 AU (or 0.012 light years) away.
How does this unlit binary companion stay at that relative distance? Well, apparently there is a ‘repulsive force’ of gravity hitherto unknown to us mere humans, and somewhat confused or involved with magnetism. Lieder flat-out tells us that “This orbit does not fit into man’s astrophysics theories, and thus it cannot be described by the math used by man to describe comet or orbit behavior.”.
In addition, Planet X will perform some elaborate swings and braking maneuvers once it reaches the inner solar system. “In a sling orbit, Planet X comes in straight line toward the Sun, slides by the Sun, and picks up speed again in a straight line after passing the Sun.”  Yet it is also described as being in a ‘retrograde’ orbit which will cause a ‘clash’ between ‘particles emerging from behind the Sun’ and the Earth, which will cause the Earth’s rotation to stop.
Uh… yeah… OK.
If you’re having trouble following this, then join the club. Lieder seems to make more sense after significant ethanol intake. Perhaps you haven’t had enough yet? Go ahead, we’ll wait.
Ready? Here we go:
Sling orbit, retrograde orbit and rotation, and the magnetic alignment of Planet X are involved in how the passage of Planet X affects the Earth. While slinging past the Sun in a retrograde orbit and rotating retrograde, Planet X is also aligning with the Sun’s magnetic field lines as passing so very close to the Sun, it is forced into this alignment. So what does this mean for the hapless Earth, stuck in the heavy traffic lane and unable to get out because of particle flows on all sides forcing her back into the middle of the eddy flow? She is aligned magnetically with the Sun, cannot leave her orbit because of her balance with flows into and out from the Sun, what we have called orbit lock. The Earth has a twisting monster approaching, about to make a passage over her head on its way out of the solar system. Since the Earth cannot leave her orbit, because of all the forces that keep her there, she cannot escape the point where Planet X will cross the Earth’s orbit. She stands, like deer in the heavy traffic lane, horrified but unable to move, frozen in the headlights.
Sometimes, during a clash of ideas, there comes a point where one side has completely and utterly embarrassed itself; where it has become so intellectually and logically bankrupt that no further argument is necessary from the opposing side.
And here we are.
The AstronomyCast podcast by Dr. Pamela Gay and Fraser Cain Episode 159: Planet X
The point-by-point rebuttal to their arguments that Astronomer Phil Plait made in 2003 are still valid.
The Planet X and the Pole Shift site also does a good job of analyzing all of the claims of the Planet X-ers, and debunking them one by one.
We have shown that Nancy Lieder’s “Planet X” is impossible as described, that it is claimed to be in an impossible orbit, that it is claimed to stop, turn, and perform other orbital gymnastics that are impossible. We have also shown that Lieder does not posses any advanced knowledge of astronomy or astrophysics given to her by the Zetas, and does not even posses a rudimentary knowledge of astronomy that an elementary- or middle-school student would have (e.g., that gravity is the dominant force in the orbits of planets). The claims that she makes run counter to known physics (e.g., that Planet X will accelerate away from the Sun). She is unable to rebut these critiques and instead makes retreating claims (e.g., that humans do not know everything) or resorts to special pleading (e.g., that the science of the Zetas is much more advanced than ours).