The secret planet has been the focus of much discussion about then it’s going to arrive and wipe us all out – the only problem is that it’s entirely untrue.
A secret planet, hidden by astronomers, is about to come crashing into Earth and kill us all. It’s a good story – the only problem is that it’s entirely fictional.
Various sites are claiming that a new video shows evidence that the planet - named Nibiru or Planet X – is on its way to wipe out Earth. The video doesn’t show that, and the planet isn’t on its way to kill us either.
The conspiracy theory has long been debunked, but still continues to spread around the internet. It tends to rely on misreading – intentionally or otherwise – official statements about space objects, as well as emphasising the mistakes that astronomers have made in the past.
The video is also obviously false. While there is a light visible in it, the light is obviously a flare from the much larger sun, rather than another object.
But that hasn’t stopped various news sites reporting that the planet might be on its way to wipe us all out. The video would usually have stayed ignored and unnoticed were it not for the fact that numerous sites are reporting on it with headlines like:
The conspiracy appears to have begun on YouTube, with a speculative video, as many of these viral prophecies tend to. It quickly spread across the rest of the internet, though didn't appear to have many views before websites began to cover it.
But Nibiru, Planet X or whatever other name the mysterious planet takes have long been known to be an internet hoax. There are lots of things that astronomers don’t know – recently speculation has suggested that there might be a Planet 9 lurking at the edge of our solar system, for instance – but if Nibiru really was on its way to us, then they’d have spotted it already.
Nasa was forced to deny that such a planet was on its way to wipe us out all the way back in 2012, as part of a long statement that was intended to stop people worrying about the predicted armageddon that year.
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“Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an Internet hoax,” Nasa was forced to write in 2012. “There is no factual basis for these claims. If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth in 2012, astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye. Obviously, it does not exist.
“Eris is real, but it is a dwarf planet similar to Pluto that will remain in the outer solar system; the closest it can come to Earth is about 4 billion miles.”
There are still various mysteries waiting out there for astronomers – and even things that get missed, like space rocks that haven’t been spotted until they’ve got worryingly close to Earth. But Planet X or Nibiru isn’t one of those.