Planet X / Nibiru was previously addressed in a Debunking column. Now, sadly, it has to be revisited.
This has spurred the Nibiru believers into a frenzy. “We’re all going to die and we’re the only ones smart enough to know it!”
The problem stems from something we’ve encountered before in these columns: the lack of specific definitions. In this case, “Planet X”. For the conspiracy believers, Planet X is generally Nibiru. Even for those who don’t necessarily believe every aspect of the Nibiru conspiracy, they still believe in enough of the basics – giant planet careening toward Earth – to render them part of the Nibiru group.
For professional astronomers, however, Planet X, also called Planet 9, is a theorized planet that is as-yet undiscovered but is in no way about to crash into Earth.
Planet 9, if it exists, is believed to be far more massive than Earth. While there are expected to be a variety of dwarf planets on the outskirts of the solar system, the general belief is that all of the inner planets have already been discovered (in direct contradiction of the Nibiru theory) but that not all of the distant planets are dwarfs. Planet 9, with a size approximately that of Neptune, is suspected to exist in that location.
It’s existence has been the subject of reasoned debate among top-level astronomers since they were first able to chart the orbit of some of bodies beyond Pluto. This is the Planet X whose probable existence has been bolstered.
Tell your doomsaying friends and family to relax. If they desperately want to see a planet crashing into the Earth, they’ll have a better chance watching old episodes of Invader Zim.