Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Planet Nibiru & 2012

From Wiki:

Main article: Zecharia Sitchin For "Nibiru" as relates to the 2012 Doomsday prediction, see Nibiru collision In recent years the work of Zecharia Sitchin has garnered much attention among ufologists, ancient astronaut theorists and conspiracy theorists. He claims to have uncovered, through his retranslations of Sumerian texts, evidence that the human race was visited by a group of extraterrestrials from a distant planet in our own Solar System. Part of his theory lies in an astronomical interpretation of the Babylonian creation myth, the Enuma Elish, in which he replaces the names of gods with hypothetical planets. However, since the principal evidence for Sitchin's claims lies in his own personally derived etymologies and not on any scholarly agreed interpretations (including scholars among the Sumerians themselves), his theories remain at most pseudoscience to the vast majority, if not the totality, of academics.[1] Sitchin's theory proposes the planets Tiamat and Nibiru. Tiamat supposedly existed between Mars and Jupiter. He postulated that it was a thriving world in a much differently shaped solar system, with jungles and oceans, whose orbit was disrupted by the arrival of a large planet or very small star (less than twenty times the size of Jupiter) which passed through the solar system between 65 million and four billion years ago. The new orbits caused Tiamat to collide with one of the moons of this object, which is known as Nibiru. The debris from this collision are thought by the theory's proponents to have variously formed the asteroid belt, the moon, and the current incarnation of the planet Earth. To the Babylonians, Nibiru was the celestial body or region sometimes associated with the god Marduk. The word is Akkadian and the meaning is uncertain. Because of this, the hypothetical planet Nibiru is sometimes also referred to as Marduk. Sitchin hypothesizes it as a planet in a highly elliptic orbit around the Sun, with a perihelion passage some 3,600 years ago and assumed orbital period of about 3,750 years; he also claims it was the home of a technologically advanced human-like alien race, the Anunnaki, who apparently visited Earth in search of gold. These beings eventually created humanity by genetically crossing theselves with primates, and thus became the first gods. Beginning in 1995, websites such as ZetaTalk have identified Nibiru or "Planet X" as a large brown dwarf currently within our planetary system, soon to pass relatively close to Earth. Sitchin disagrees with the timing of passage.[2] Sitchin also postulates that Pluto began life as Gaga, a satellite of Saturn which, due to gravitational disruption caused by Nibiru's passing, was flung into orbit beyond Neptune

Below is one of the many videos on Youtube about Planet Nibiru:

video


From the Discovery Channel:

Armageddon from Planet Nibiru in 2012? Not So Fast
by David Morrison e-mail share bookmark print



Some conspiracy theorists believe ancient Sumerian people discovered a planet called "Nibiru" beyond Pluto that will doom Earth in 2012. Scientists, however, beg to differ. Credit: Wikimedia Commons The scoop: Conspiracy theorists are convinced a rogue planet will destroy the Earth in 2012, and movie makers are already trying to cash in on the hysteria. An astrobiologist calls for a reality check.

Unbeknownst to most of us, a small but vocal group of conspiracy theorists is convinced that a rogue planet is about to enter the inner solar system and doom the Earth.

They say that this threatening planet on a 3600-year orbit was discovered by the ancient Mesopotamians, who named it Nibiru, and it was known also to the Mayans, who associated it with the end of their calendar "long count" in December 2012. In Web sites, blogs, and radio talk shows, they insist that NASA is tracking Nibiru -- but that this information is being kept from the public as part of a worldwide conspiracy.

They say the official silence can't be maintained for much longer, however, because by 2009 Nibiru will be visible to the naked eye from the southern hemisphere. They also say Earth's axis is already tilting and the length of the day is changing under its influence. As one believer recently wrote to me, "Why are you lying. It's coming, and everyone knows it."

I began to receive questions about this bizarre story in December 2007 through NASA's "Ask an Astrobiologist" site. Normally I receive up to a dozen questions per week from the public, dealing mostly with life in the universe -- but in the past 6 months the Nibiru traffic alone has grown to 20-25 messages a week, ranging from the anguished "I can't sleep," "I am really scared" or "I don't want to die" to the abusive "you are putting my family at risk" and "if NASA denies it then it must be true."

As a scientist, I'm both fascinated and astonished by the deluge of questions from people who are genuinely frightened and, apparently, unable to distinguish astronomical fact from fiction. They're watching YouTube videos and visiting slick Web sites with nothing in their skeptical toolkit, or to quote Carl Sagan no "baloney detector." Now a blockbuster disaster film called "2012" is set for release in the summer of 2009, and the commercial enterprise is clearly trying to cash in on people's concern (perhaps contributing to their fear as well).

My guess is that only a tiny fraction of people truly believes that Armageddon is coming in December 2012. But their uncritical acceptance of this story worries me as a warning of the dangers of our current scientific illiteracy.

We're facing monumental problems with global warming and loss of habitat, yet a substantial minority of Americans thinks the world was formed less than 10,000 years ago and deny that evolution is possible. Many Americans seem to prefer coal-fired generators to nuclear power plants without realizing the toll in public health that coal imposes. Billions are spent, including tax-payer dollars, for so-called alternative medicine with no scientific evidence for its efficacy. And legislators often resist efforts to collect the data that could actually demonstrate which government programs are effective and which ones don't work as intended.

In spite of my frustrations, I can always hope that Nibiru will turn into a teaching moment. Its proponents are convinced that it will be visible to the unaided eye this coming spring, and its effects on the rotation and orbit of the Earth will be obvious by summer (just in time for the release of the film "2012"). When none of this happens, I hope they'll realize that they need better tools to distinguish fact from fiction.

But maybe they won't.

One of funniest things about this Nibiru story is that it is a rerun -- there was a big Internet concern that Nibiru would destroy the Earth in May of 2003. Something tells me this didn't happen, yet now the same myth is resurrected. Are we condemned to suffer a Nibiru scare every decade in this century, or will people come to their senses?

David Morrison, a space scientist at NASA Ames Research Center and interim director of NASA's new Lunar Science Institute, answers questions from the public on "Ask an Astrobiologist." He recently published a collection of sample questions and answers surrounding the Nibiru story in Skeptical Inquirer. The views expressed are the author's alone and do not represent the official position of the Discovery Channel.

Article posted October 13, 2008.

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