Reader’s Request: Nibiru, the Phantom Planet, Coming to Destroy Us?

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Lance Oleviri made the following request:

I would love to see an in depth discussion about Nibiru. So many people truly believe in this bunk, phantom planet, and trying to convince people, with science, is frustrating. I think you would do a great job.

We’ll do our best, Lance.

Nibiru: Mythical Planet of Doom


The first mention, by anyone, of Nibiru occurred in 1976 in a book called The Twelfth Planet written by Zecharia Sitchin. He based his book on his personal interpretations of Sumerian cuneiform to identify a planet, Nibiru, beyond Pluto, making one orbit of the Sun every 3,600 years. As you’re about to see, Sitchin may not be the most reliable source of planetary information.

American biblical scholar Michael S. Heiser states he has found many inaccuracies in Sitchin’s translations. He writes there isn’t a single text in the entire cuneiform record that:

  • Has nibiru as a planet beyond Pluto
  • Connects nibiru with the Anunnaki (a group of deities in ancient Mesopotamian cultures)
  • Has nibiru cycling through our solar system every 3600 years

In a 1979 review of The Twelfth Planet, Roger W. Wescott, Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, had this to say:

Sitchin’s linguistics seems at least as amateurish as his anthropology, biology, and astronomy. On p. 370, for example, he maintains that “all the ancient languages … including early Chinese … stemmed from one primeval source — Sumerian”. Sumerian, of course, is the virtual archetype of what linguistic taxonomists call a language-isolate, meaning a language that does not fall into any of the well-known language-families or exhibit clear cognation with any known language. Even if Sitchin is referring to written rather than to spoken language, it is unlikely that his contention can be persuasively defended, since Sumerian ideograms were preceded by the Azilian and Tartarian signaries of Europe as well as by a variety of script-like notational systems between the Nile and Indus rivers.

It should also be mentioned that Sitchin was a big proponent of ‘ancient astronauts’. He seemed to believe (or at least write) that all the mythical ancient supernatural entities such as elohim, nephilim and the anunnaki were in fact aliens from other planets.

Years later, Nancy Lieder, who claimed to be a psychic, indicated that aliens had warned her that Nibiru would collide with Earth in 2003. 2003 passed without any sign of a planetary collision. The collision date was then pushed back to 2012, perhaps to gain credibility through a link to the Mayan Calendar/2012 scare.

So, there we have it. The story originated with a translation of Sumerian writing by an author who lacked skill in translating Sumerian. Next, it was carried on by a woman that was telepathically warned by aliens who, even though they were an advanced species, skilled in all the psychic arts, were unable to master the subtle art of calendar reading. As a result, it was apparently decided that psychic aliens were unreliable (who knew?) and the Nibiru story was hitched up to the Mayan Calendar. Again, no luck. No impact in 2012 either.

This series of events does not really do a great job of lending credibility to the Nibiru myth. We at SDHoS are not convinced.

The Story Continues

Comet Elenin, which became news in 2011, had many Nibiru believers preparing for the worst. It was hypothesized that it was really Nibiru in disguise. As it turns out, in September of that year, the comet was torn to rubble when it passed too close to the Sun. On October 16 the tiny fragments that were all that remained of the once-fearsome comet passed harmlessly by the Earth.

In September of 2012, Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok,  discovered the comet C/2012 S1, also known as “Comet ISON” (so named because it was discovered using the International Scientific Optical Network of telescopes aka ISON). Its orbit was expected to take it within 39,900,000 miles of Earth on December 26th 2013. Believers once again assumed it was Nibiru and that it would hit the Earth on that date. On December 2nd 2013, the NASA officially announced that the comet had disintegrated, another victim of our Sun.

These are both fine examples of something called confirmation bias. Confirmation bias (or confirmatory bias) is a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs.

There have been many other cases of confirmation bias over the years, including Sedna or Eris, Tyche and the hypothesized Planet Nine. 

Present Day

Even with the origins of the Nibiru story coming from unreliable sources, and a series of ‘THIS IS IT!’ moments that turned out not to be it, there persists a group that refuses to let go of the myth.

Most myths have the nostalgic air of ancient empires; being hundreds, if not thousands of years old. Not this one. This one was cooked up in 1970’s; the decade of the AMC Pacer.

“So, SDHoS, are you saying that planetary collisions don’t happen?”

No, not at all. In fact, the leading hypothesis for the origin of he moon is as follows:

The giant-impact hypothesis, sometimes called the Big Splash, or the Theia Impact suggests that Earth’s Moon formed out of the debris left over from an indirect collision between Earth and an astronomical body the size of Mars, approximately 4.5 billion years ago.

Luckily for us, the solar system is a much cleaner place now than it was 4.5 billion years ago. Having a few giant planets such as Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune helped vacuum up many wayward objects who’s orbits brought them into our neighborhood. Collisions are a lot less likely than they used to be!

Still, it is possible that an object out there has our name on it. Is it Nibiru? No. NASA maintains the Near Earth Object Program to monitor the skies for any real objects that may crowd our space. If you’re interested, you can access it HERE.

As allways, thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment and discuss this post below!

4 comments on “Reader’s Request: Nibiru, the Phantom Planet, Coming to Destroy Us?

  1. I like the work you do, perhaps you could look into the “egyptian chariots on the botton of the red sea”. Also known as physical proof of the story of moses and exodus.

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