Thanks to Kristen who sent me this article about Planet X. You can read her previous article about Comet Elenin on this site as well.

By Kristen Claire Jones

This question has intrigued us throughout human existence. Is it really possible that this is the only place containing intelligent life?

Scientists talk about life only being able to form within the habitation or “goldilocks” zone. This is the rather limited area near a star/sun where life is possible. In our solar system there are 9 planets that orbit the sun at different distances. Imagine a set of nested circles radiating out from the sun on which each of these planets move. Only one of those circles/zones represents the area within which life is possible.

Not too hot (too close to the sun like Mercury) not too cold (too far away from the sun like Uranus, Neptune and Pluto). Most of our solar systems planets have environments that are too extreme to support life. But, earth sits at just the right distance from the sun to support life. Mars also sits in or close to this goldilocks zone which is why it is targeted for future space exploration and why many believe there is evidence that life has existed there.

Because we now know that the other planets in our system have inhospitable environments, there’s been a sense of giving up on finding life. But there are still possibilities. We know that many other stars in the Universe operate on a binary or multi star system. Our system with just one star is unusual. There could potentially be a companion dark star or brown dwarf still hidden in the outer reaches of our solar system. These are hard to detect when a star has burned out or failed to reach the critical mass needed to begin the internal nuclear processes that create stars. These stars are called brown dwarfs. For a long time their existence was just theoretical. This is because they are dark and hard to locate particularly at huge distances. These bodies burn brightly when young but over time become dark though still warm. Our sun could have such a companion. There is a theory that there may be a binary dark star (brown dwarf) at considerable distance beyond Pluto on an elliptical orbit and that a life hospitable planet (sometimes referred to as a planet X) could be orbiting around this body and support life in our solar system well outside the goldilocks zone.

Andy Lloyd in his book “Dark Star, The Planet X Evidence” gives the most scientific explanation of this theory that I’ve come across. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about this particular theory.

In a nutshell though, such a brown dwarf could provide the warmth needed to incubate life on its orbiting satellite planets yet because it is dark and so far away, still be very hard for us to detect. If such a planet could be found, it would open up a whole new field of possibilities for life right here in our own backyard.

Some of the factors Lloyd explores that suggest a brown dwarf near the outskirts of our system are;

1. Our suns gravitational influence may extend out as far as 50,000 astronomical units (50,000 times the distance from the sun to the earth). Our current knowledge of the objects in our system only really extends out about 50 au; just 1/1000th of the distance to the edge of the suns influence.

2. The sun is moving in a slightly odd direction compared to some of its neighbours which could potentially indicate an undetected binary companion.

3. Uranus and Neptune, our two large outer planets exhibit “wobbles” in their orbits which could suggest the perturbing influence from an outer undiscovered body. Pluto, discovered since this theory was first put forward is too small to account for this.

4. In 1983 a telescopic survey called IRAS was carried out using an infra red telescope which should have been able to detect such a body. At that time, a story was in fact broken by the Washington post science team that a heavenly body possibly as large as Jupiter and potentially part of our own solar system had been found. But JPL’s public relations office later reported that the finding had been “ambiguous”. This naturally led many people to feel that some kind of discovery had been covered up.

5. An astrophysicists group from Harvard came up with details of a strange object in the Kuiper Belt (2000 CR105) whose orbit might be the result of a “massive perturber” in the comet clouds beyond the known planetary zone.

6. Our solar system seems to exhibit too much gravity which suggests that there is a huge amount of missing mass in the universe. Brown dwarf stars could account for this anomaly.

7. In 1999 a paper was published looking at patterns and trajectories of long period comets emerging from the outer Oort cloud. To explain their behaviour, it developed a theory of a massive body orbiting the sun amongst these distant comets. Another interesting idea is that the area within the Kuiper belt known as Kuiper cliff which seems to be almost empty, may have been swept clean by an unknown body. The Kuiper cliff phenomenon could have been created by a body repeatedly cutting through there as it approached its perihelion passage.

8. In 2004 another “planet” (Sedna) was discovered being located in the Kuiper belt. It appears to have an elliptical orbit of 10,000 to 12,000 years duration. To have such an elliptical orbit might mean at some point it was pulled out of a more circular orbit by an undiscovered massive body.

9. There’s one final piece of evidence that such a body may exist which sends most of the scientific community into an apoplectic spin. Ancient myths tell stories of just such a planetary body. Sumerian tablets from our oldest known civilization refer to it and to intelligent and advanced “life” in the form of the “Annunaki” coming from it to earth. Zachariah Sitchins body of work which he called “the earth chronicles” looks at this in vast detail. If such a dark star exists and is a binary star orbiting our sun at vast distances it would only approach our planetary zone every several thousand years and any planet observed by the ancients would probably not have been the star itself but the outermost planet of its system.

The only thing that’s clear from all this that there is more to learn. There is right now, a NASA wide-field infrared survey explorer mission (WISE) which has been launched this year and will hopefully reveal more about brown dwarfs and how they behave. This space based telescope will use sky survey instruments far more sensitive than IRA’s mission and is the best chance of discovering a planet X in our solar system if it exists.

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