Scary Death Star Myth
By James Donahue
For as long as there
has been a recorded record of human existence, there has been a persistent story about a wild run-away planet that makes a
deadly pass through our solar system, causing great havoc every few million years.
The latest version,
based upon contemporary knowledge of our solar system, is that there is a brown dwarf, of dead sun nicknamed Nemesis that
orbits our solar system at such a broad sweep it makes its pass near the Earth about every 26 million years.
According to the story,
Nemesis is big . . . up to five times the size of Jupiter . . . but strangely invisible to astronomers because of its great
distance and because, as a burned out sun, it only emits infrared light.
One story suggested
that as Nemesis enters our solar system, its gravitational pull drags icy rocks, some the size of Pluto, out of the Oort Clout,
and during its pass, hurls these bodies like deadly meteors toward the planets, including Earth. Some are so large that when
they collide they cause mass devastation.
NASA Astronomer Michael
Brown, who along with David Rabinowitz of Yale University discovered in 2003
a dwarf planet now dubbed Sedna orbiting at the far edge of our solar system, may have helped launch this latest version of
a very old myth.
Brown has noted that
Sedna’s strange 12,000-year-long orbit appears to break the rules of celestial activity. He was quoted as saying that
Sedna shouldn’t be where it is, and orbiting in the odd oval orbit it follows. “The only way to get on an eccentric
orbit is to have some giant body kick you – so what is out there?”
Indeed, there are
many unexplained mysteries about that distant edge of our solar system that have surprised NASA researchers. For example,
the to space probes Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11, launched in the 1970s to explore planets in our solar system and then travel
on into deep space, did something unexpected in 2001, when they left the solar system. They slowed their speed of travel and
NASA cannot explain why that happened. Was it gravitational pull from some unseen source? Was it Nemesis?
Indeed, the concept
of a mystery star, sometimes dubbed “Planet X,” was proposed in 1984 by two paleontologists, David Raup and Jack
Sepkoski, who published a paper based upon their study of studies of 12 extinction events recorded in the fossil record. They
claimed that the average time between these extinction events was about 26 million years. They could not identify the cause
of these extinctions but suggested a “non-terrestrial” event.
Their work was quickly
noticed by astronomers and writers like Zecharia Sitchin who developed a hypothesis that a yet undetected companion star exists
in orbit around our Sun, which causes havoc every 26 million years.
Astronomer team Dan
Whitmire and Albert Jackson, and a second team comprised of Richard Miller, Marc
Davis and Piet Hut, both published their hypothesis of the existence of that rogue star in Nature Magazine on the same date.
They suggested the mystery star’s highly elliptical orbit would periodically disturb comets in the Oort cloud, thus
sending them flying through the solar system. Their “Death Star” has yet to be found, however.
Sitchin, on the other
hand, turned to ancient Bible, Egyptian and Babylonian mythology to make his case for a rogue star the Sumerians called Nibiru.
In his book The Twelfth Planet, Sitchen suggested that an alien race of extra-terrestrials, which the ancient Sumerian text
referred to as the Anunnaki, live on Nibiru and travel to visit Earth every time their planet flies by Earth.
The Anunnaki myth
comes from the Babylonian creation myth, Enuma Elish, which evolved around the god-king Marduk, possibly the same person identified
in the Book of Genesis as Nimrod, the founder of the first great cities of the Babylonian Empire.
The Babylonians, like
most great civilizations that emerged around the world in ancient times, were deeply interested in the stars. Another surviving
writing from that ancient time, known as the Mul.Apin, is a catalog of the stars as they were understood by astrologers of
that day. And the document, compiled at about 1000 B.C., appears to identify Nibiru as the planet we now call Jupiter.