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Blog 46   (January 2017)

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  News, links, videos and comment   relating to the Dark Star Theory 






Zecharia Sitchin and Cuneiform Script

One of the accusations levelled at the late Zecharia Sitchin was that he was not able to read and translate the cuneiform scripts of the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians and other ancient Mesopotamian cultures.  There aren't that many people who can read cuneiform, and Sitchin was not a recognised linguistic scholar of ancient languages.  As a result, it's easy for scholars to question his ability to read, transliterate and interpret the ancient Mesopotamian writings. 

I came across this issue first-hand in 2003 when appearing in a short university project documentary alongside some noted British Sumerologists and astronomers, discussing Planet X (1).  The Sumerologists, curators from the British Museum in London, were sceptical of Sitchin's knowledge of cuneiform, and his expertise with the ancient languages that used this script:

Christopher Walker (Deputy Keeper, Cuneiform Collection, British Museum): "It’s basically a very subjective interpretation of individual pictures, individual ideas. But he [Sitchin] doesn’t actually sit down and work with the texts.  And people think this is a nice idea, this is a nice story, let’s have the next chapter of the story…It’s like Harry Potter." (2)

Dr Irving Finkel (Assistant Keeper, Cuneiform Collections, British Museum): It is very easy to use Sumerian and the Sumerian culture as your explanation for things because hardly anyone in the world can read Sumerian, and if you can give the impression you can read these texts you can say what you like. And I do think this is a factor. The number of people who can read Sumerian reliably and properly you could fit into this room. I think it would be a bit of a squeeze, you would have to move the furniture, but you could get everyone in the world onto this room." (2)

There's a general disillusionment with experts these days.  Sometimes, experts get it horribly wrong:  Economists failing to see a looming crash, or bursting of an economic bubble; environmental scientists cooking the books to solidify their stance on climate change; politicians expounding doom and gloom if a particular decision is made, only to see markets lift when it comes to pass.  This may be a similar situation. 

In order to attain the kinds of authorised credentials that Finkel and Walker require, students of ancient Mesopotamian languages must jump through a number of academic hoops, and then be accepted into the club of recognised scholars of cuneiform script.  Like democracy, this may simply be the 'least bad' way of doing things, but it does mean that budding scholars must toe the party line to be accepted into the halls of academe.  There is a system of self-perpetuating conformity at work here.  Certainly, there is no room in the Sumerology world-view for outsiders who independently master the script and languages, and then propose that the ancient accounts have been incorrectly interpreted this whole time. 

Sitchin's translations, and his interpretations, are fiercely contested - to the point where accusations of fraud has been levelled at him.  It is often quoted on the Internet that Sitchin knowingly distorted translations of Sumerian phrases and words to fit his own theory.  The translations he presents in his books (3) are sometimes different from authorised texts.  These discrepancies provide ammunition for sceptics and scholars alike to dismiss his work, and allege that he knowingly misled his readership.  (This situation is not helped by the semi-fictionalised fill-ins he added in to his popular text 'The Lost Book of Enki' (4).) Such accusations have become common currency (5), and even maverick writers looking into ancient mysteries often distance themselves from Sitchin's work. 

But are they wrong to be so dismissive?  Furthermore, are their accusations of fraud actually libellous?

In 2015, Zecharia Sitchin's niece, Janet Sitchin, published a book containing various articles, letters and book excerpts written by him (6).  Having noted on the inside cover jacket that her uncle was "known for his ability to read and interpret ancient Sumerian and Akkadian clay tablets", Janet Sitchin wrote the following in her postscript:

"Sitchin learned to read various types of cuneiform and researched and learned the ancient languages.  They were Semitic languages and, as such, he felt they were similar to the Hebrew that was his primary language. It was important for him to read and translate the languages for himself so that the nuance of meaning was not lost by a poor or incomplete translation." (6)

According to members of his own family, then, Zecharia Sitchin really did read and translate the ancient Mesopotamian languages directly from the original cuneiform.  Is this so incredible?  People teach themselves languages all the time, using any number of resources to master them.  Sitchin's problem, then, is that he didn't learn these ancient languages the 'proper' way.  He didn't write academic papers, setting his ideas forth in a peer-reviewable format where establishment Sumerologists could unpick his work through standard academic criticism.  Instead, he went straight to the masses, without bothering to check with them whether he was right.  You can see why they might get a bit miffed.

So, let's say that Sitchin, being a pretty bright bloke (he obtained a degree in economic history from the University of London, and was a journalist and editor in Israel for many years before emigrating to the U.S.) taught himself cuneiform.  His translations are personalised, sure, but does that necessarily make them wrong?  Translating from any language is a subjective business, after all, and is reliant to some degree upon one's world view.  The same argument can be made about academic scholars, whose own paradigms can be deeply rooted and conservative.  These experts may not always get it right, because their underlying assumptions about what constitutes Truth may be erroneous.  Herd instinct can drive these disciplines, just as it does economics, politics, science.  And sometimes, someone needs to come along to stir things up a bit.

Here's an example of how Sitchin is often entirely dismissed for proposing a non-conventional translation:

“You’ll often read, especially in the writings of Zecharia Sitchin, that the annunaki means something like ‘they who from heaven came’ or some other description that makes them sound like aliens or extra-terrestrials. There isn’t a source on the planet by any Sumerian scholar that would agree with that definition. It’s not a difficult term. I personally don’t think that Sitchin knew Sumerian at all because if you’re going to get a term associated with a very group of important deities wrong, I have to wonder what else you’re going to get wrong.” (7)

Sitchin's first description of the Anunnaki in "The 12th Planet", p328, includes the following:

"Still, many texts persist in referring to the Anunnaki as "the fifty great princes". A common spelling of their name in Akkadian, An-nun-na-ki, readily yields the meaning "the fifty who went from Heaven to Earth". Is there a way to bridge the seeming contradictions?" (3)

This simple quote contains both his translation, and also a variation on the 'princes' translation more widely advocated.  Sitchin is making it quite clear in his book that he is deviating from the standard translation.  His critics argue that he knowingly misled people who know no better.  That accusation has stuck.  In fact, Sitchin quite carefully and openly offered a choice, setting out why he was proposing something different.  He may have been wrong, he may have been right - but he was no fraud.


Written by Andy Lloyd,  2nd January 2017


1)  Andy Lloyd "Planet X and 'Waiting for the Apocalypse'" November 2003

2)  The Clockwork Team & University of Westminster ‘Waiting for the Apocalypse' 2003

3)  Zecharia Sitchin "The Twelfth Planet" Avon 1976, and the subsequent Earth Chronicles series, by the same publisher as well as Bear & Co.

4)  Zecharia Sitchin "The Lost Book of Enki" Bear & Co., 2002

5)  Ben Guarino "Will the mysterious shadow planet Nibiru obliterate Earth in October? No." 5th January 2017

6)  Janet Sitchin (Ed) "The Anunnaki Chronicles: A Zecharia Sitchin Reader" Bear and Co., 2015, p350

7)  Ancient Aliens Debunked 'Anunnaki' quoting critic Michael Heiser


Image credit: Zecharia Sitchin


The evolution of cuneiform script from early pictographs


Three Billion Year Old Aliens?

I recently reviewed a book about Carl Sagan's interest in ancient aliens, written by Donald Zygutis (1).  Early on in his illustrious career, Sagan expressed scepticism about seeking E.T. life using radio telescopes, instead advocating a search through historical accounts and myths to determine whether our planet had been visited (2).  He argued that in a standard galaxy there are so many stars/planets etc, that all you'd need to do is point the radio receiver at any given galactic source beyond the Milky Way, and alien radio signals should come screaming out at you. They generally don't, of course, which led Sagan to the early logical conclusion that SETI's search with radio telescopes was bound to fail.  However, this approach became the only game in town, with serious funding at its disposal, and Sagan fell into line behind it - supporting this doomed search for E.T. radio signals ostensibly from stars within out galactic neighbourhood.

Decades on, and SETI has come up with little of any merit.  The odd interesting blip, sure, but nothing demonstrably repetitive, or intelligent.  Other searches have also come up empty-handed, including an extensive search for highly advanced galactic civilisations using infra-red (3), based upon the theories of the physicist Freeman Dyson.  Looking for an infra-red signature from other galaxies seems like a bit of a stretch to me.  Sagan's initial premise about radio waves emanating from other distant galaxies is more plausible.  By staring at the tiny amount of our sky that any given distant galaxy occupies, radio telescopes can cover a lot of possible stars in a very small space.  If any of them contain radio-emitting alien species, shouting for attention, then we should pick them up one would have thought. 

Which leads me to news of a scientific breakthrough in pinpointing repeated bursts of radio activity from a distant dwarf galaxy.  A determined effort to locate the source of some Fast Radio Bursts, using the Very Large Array in New Mexico, has not only yielded the source (an innocuous little galaxy some 3 billion light years away) but also knocked out some reproducible science:

"In 83 hours of observing time over six months in 2016, the VLA detected nine bursts from FRB 121102.  In addition to detecting the bright bursts from FRB 121102, the team's observations also revealed an ongoing, persistent source of weaker radio emission in the same region." (4)

Which begs the question, why aren't SETI all over this?  Isn't this exactly the kind of thing Sagan spoke about?  Instead, all of the scientists involved in this research seem desperate to find a natural explanation for this phenomenon - something more complex than Quasars, but not actually intelligent.  It's curious - all those decades searching for strong, repetitive radio signals, and when something turns up which fits the bill, Science gets cold feet. 

Of course, if this is intelligently-generated radio noise from an advanced civilisation in a distant galaxy, then it was emitted 3 billion years ago, give or take.  Presumably, that civilisation is long since gone.  But wouldn't it be amazing if something intelligible could eventually be gleaned from this radio twitter, even if the source is now, to paraphrase John Cleese,  an ex-extraterrestrial?


Written by Andy Lloyd,  4th January 2017


1)  Donald Zygutis "The Sagan Conspiracy" New Page Books, 2017

2)  Carl Sagan “Direct Contact Among Galactic Civilizations by Relativistic Interstellar Spaceflight” Planetary and Space Science, 15th November 1962,  p496, Pergamon Press Ltd

3)  Lee Billings "Alien Supercivilizations Absent from 100,000 Nearby Galaxies" 17th April 2015

4)  Paul Rincon "Mystery cosmic radio bursts pinpointed" 4th January 2016


The Very Large Array in New Mexico





 The Galactic Core Spits out Dark Stars

A new theory about planet formation has posited that stars, placed under inordinate stress, could break apart catastrophically, flinging their smouldering remains out into the void at tumultuous speeds.  It would take quite a force to render stars apart in this way.  The supermassive black hole which lies at the centre of the galaxy creates just such an impression.  Wayward stars drifting inexorably into the depths of its immense gravitational well would not fare well, during what are termed Tidal Disruption Events (1,2).  Researchers from Harvard University (namely, undergraduate Eden Girma and James Guillochon, an Einstein fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), have conducted computer simulations to model what happens to this streaming material, and the results are quite extraordinary:

"Every few thousand years, an unlucky star wanders too close to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. The black hole's powerful gravity rips the star apart, sending a long streamer of gas whipping outward. That would seem to be the end of the story, but it's not.  New research shows that not only can the gas gather itself into planet-size objects, but those objects then are flung throughout the galaxy in a game of cosmic "spitball."" (3)

It should be said that the numbers of free-shooting planets theoretically generated in this way would make up perhaps only 0.1% of the Milky Way's free-floating worlds.  Many of the others are ejected by standard star systems during their chaotic early periods of planetary formation.  This is particularly true of binary star systems, and other complex stellar arrangements (4).  It's likely that free-floating planets actually outnumber their 'normal' bound counterparts (5).  So, given the extraordinary number of free-floaters out there in interstellar space, this 0.1% is still equivalent to hundreds of millions of these cold, gaseous objects - many of which would be equivalent to the Dark Star class of object I have written about.  Their fate is varied:

"Of those newly born objects about 95 percent were flung from the galaxy out into the outer spiral arm hinterlands. A much smaller percentage remained bound to Sagittarius A*, destined to endlessly circle the dark monster that ripped the original star apart. The smallest set of planetoids, fewer than one percent of the total, are now wandering the outskirts of the Milky Way, perhaps within about six hundred light-years of Earth."" (6)

The streams of gas strewn out from the shredded star are capable of clumping into gas giant-sized planets within just one year.  This contrasts with the millions of years that gas giants generally take to form, according to current models of planet-formation.  So how do they manage to form so quickly in such a high velocity environment? 

I wonder whether this could provide a template for the clumping of material within interstellar space - interstellar medium is also subject to a high-velocity environment within galactic streams and currents.  This is an area of research that interests me greatly at the moment, as I attempt to explain how planets could form in interstellar domains beyond the heliopause, and perhaps continuing to accumulate materials around them for billions of years (7).  Recent work has been carried out by the Hubble Space Telescope as it images the interstellar space that the two Voyager spacecraft are now traversing beyond the heliopause.  The data indicates that the environment beyond contains zones of 'clumpier' material than expected (8).  This finding, shoring up NASA previous descriptions of 'interstellar fluff' lurking beyond the heliopause, provides more evidence that accumulation of interstellar medium can occur in interstellar space; at least locally.  The mechanism for this remains unclear.

In the case of the 'spaghettified' streams of star matter created by the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A*, the residual internal gravitational pull of the gaseous clumps is enough to cause planetary formation within the stream of matter:

"Hydrodynamical simulations of this process have revealed that within this stream, the local self-gravity dominates the tidal field of Sgr A*. This residual self-gravity allows for planetary-mass fragments to form along the stream that are then shot out into the galaxy at velocities determined by a spread of binding energies." (9)

If true, then this is quite extraordinary.  The monster back hole at the centre of the galaxy is routinely chewing up stars which get too close, and spitting out their innards across the galaxy in the form of bite-sized planetary chunks.

The other aspect of this is that the composition of these high-velocity second generation planets would vary depending upon what part of any given star they might have accrued from.  This is an important point, because it lends itself to the possibility of quite exotic Dark Stars, whose gaseous and chemical signatures could be quite different from those forming 'naturally' out of stellar nurseries, or from rotating proto-planetary disks.  The sub-stellar properties of such objects might vary accordingly.  Monster dwarf sub-stars?


Written by Andy Lloyd,  9-15th January 2017


1)  Lee Mohon "Tidal Disruption" 21st October 2015

2)  Bogdanović, Tamara et al "Tidal Disruption of a Star By a Massive Black Hole: Observational Signature" The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 610, Issue 2, pp. 707-721,

3)  Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Press Release 2017-01 "Our Galaxy's Black Hole is Spewing Out Planet-size "Spitballs"" 6th January 2017

4)  Ramin Skibba "Binary stars shred up and shove off their newborn planets" 13th January 2017


6)  Daily Galaxy 'The Planetary Spitball Machine' --Milky Way's Supermassive Black Hole Spews Out Millions of Star Fragments --"Large as Jupiter and Neptune" 6th January 2016

7) Andy Lloyd "The Cumulative Effect of Intermittent Interstellar Medium Inundation Upon Objects In The Outer Solar System" February 2016, DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.5112.5526,

8)  Hubble News Release number: STScI-2017-01  "What will the Voyager Spacecraft Encounter Next? Hubble Helps Provide a Roadmap" 6th January 2017

9)  Eden Girma "Modeling the spatial distribution of fragments formed from tidally disrupted stars" 4th January 2017, Presentation at 229th AAS Meeting, Grapevine, TX,












Recent updates on the Search for Planet Nine

It's a year since proposed the existence of Planet Nine (1).  Despite the fact that its discovery remains elusive, there have been a great many academic papers written on the subject, and no shortage of serious researchers underpinning the theoretical concepts supporting its existence.  Many have sought evidence in the solar system which indirectly points to the perturbing influence of this mysterious world; others have provided data which have helped to constrain the parameters of its orbit (by effectively demonstrating where it could NOT be).  Throughout 2016, I have been highlighting these developments on the Dark Star Blog. 

At the close of 2016, two further papers were published about Planet Nine.  The first of these delves more deeply into the possibility that Planet Nine (Brown's new name for Planet X, which seems to have caught on among astronomers keen to distance this serious search from, well, the mythological planet Nibiru) has a resonance relationship with some of the objects beyond the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt which it is perturbing.  These kinds of resonance relationships are not unusual in planetary orbital dynamics, so such a suggestion is not that odd, even given the eccentricities of the bodies involved here.  The new research, from the University of California, Santa Cruz, bolsters the case for this kind of pattern applying to Planet Nine's orbit:

"We extend these investigations by exploring the suggestion of Malhotra et al. (2016) (2) that Planet Nine is in small integer ratio mean-motion resonances (MMRs) with several of the most distant KBOs. We show that the observed KBO semi-major axes present a set of commensurabilities with an unseen planet at ~654 AU (P~16,725 yr) that has a greater than 98% chance of stemming from a sequence of MMRs rather than from a random distribution." (3)

Their randomised 'Monte Carlo' calculations provide a best fit with a planet of between 6 and 12 Earth masses, whose eccentric orbit is inclined to the ecliptic by about 30 degrees.  They are unable to point to a specific area of the sky to search, but provide a broad-brush region which they favour as most probable.  Dr Millholland has also helpfully provided a 3D manipulable 3D figure of the cluster of extended scattered disk objects allegedly affected by the purported Planet Nine, alongside their extrapolated orbit for it (4).

The second (now-published) paper, written by Planet Nine advocates Konstantin Batygin and Dr Mike Brown examines in more detail their earlier suggestion that a highly inclined subset of trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) exhibiting retrograde orbits (namely Drac, Niku, and 2016 NM56) may also owe their odd orbital arrangements to Planet Nine (5).  The authors acknowledge the explanatory power of the generally accepted Nice model for the evolution of the solar system into its current format, but also highlight areas which remain unexplained - including these strange TNOs.  They tested the possibility that the additional presence of Planet Nine can explain the unusual inclinations of Drac, Niku, 2016 NM56, as well as other members of the currently known trans-Neptunian population which are not well accounted for by the Nice model (6).  The paper indicates how many of the solar system mysteries could be readily explained by the presence of a substantial Planet X body.

Such an explanation is not without its critics, as I previously described (5): Critics who will really only be satisfied when this elusive planet is actually found.  Dr Mike Brown thinks that should be before the end of next winter (i.e. early 2018), given the number of groups now actively seeking this object (7).


Rogue Planet

How this object managed to end up where it is purported to be continues to mystify astrophysicists.  Again, during 2016 I covered a great many of the theories put forward for a world whose orbit keeps it well beyond the solar system's generally accepted zone of early planetary construction.  Indeed, this has been one of the thorniest issues with the whole concept of 'Planet X', for decades.  Now, new computer simulations carried out by James Vesper and Paul Mason of New Mexico State University support the idea that Planet Nine is a free-floating, or rogue planet, that was captured by the Sun from interstellar space (8):

"...Their simulations showed that 60 percent of the times a rogue planet encountered our solar system, it came in and then left, sometimes taking another smaller planet with it. In 40 percent of cases, however, the rogue was captured and remained in orbit. The simulations also suggested that if such a rogue was captured, it could orbit the sun at the speculated distance and that it was unlikely that a planet any bigger than Neptune has ever entered our solar system—the orderliness of our system suggests it has not been disturbed since the period when the solar system was created." (9).

One might argue that with these computer simulations you tend to get out what you put in.  Nonetheless, these support the capture scenario, and potentially align the proposed Planet Nine ever closer to Zecharia Sitchin's mythological Nibiru/Marduk Planet X.  Why?  Because his books not only describe a Planet X body of about 10 Earth masses in an elliptical orbit inclined 30 degrees to the ecliptic (as per Planet Nine) but also pinpoint its origin as being just such a rogue planet  captured by the Sun from interstellar space (10). 

There remain two stark differences:  The first is that Planet Nine is thought to remain well beyond the heliopause for the entire duration of its eccentric orbit.  This contrasts with Nibiru's asteroid belt-skimming perihelion passage (but these days, with a known second asteroid belt in the form of the distant Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune, one could imagine a slightly different reading of the Babylonian 'hammered bracelet' from Enuma Elish?).  The second is that Planet Nine's projected orbital period is 10 - 20,000 years, contrasting with Sitchin's 3,600 years. 

Still, enough similarities to make any number of scientists feel acutely uncomfortable - if not a little irritated.


Written by Andy Lloyd,  6-15th January 2017


1)   K. Batygin & M. Brown "Evidence for a Distant Giant Planet in the Solar System" 20th January 2016, The Astronomical Journal, Volume 151, Number 2,

2)  Renu Malhotra, Kathryn Volk, & Xianyu Wang "Corralling a Distant Planet with Extreme Resonant Kuiper Belt Objects " 2016, 824 (2):L22 The Astrophysical Journal

3)  Sarah Millholland & Gregory Laughlin "Constraints on Planet Nine's Orbit and Sky Position within a Framework of Mean Motion Resonances" 22nd December 2016

4)  Sarah Millholland "Planet Nine's Orbit in Space"

5)  Andy Lloyd "Niku, Drac and L91 Perturbed by Planet Nine...or Something Else?" 18th October 2016

6)  Konstantin Batygin & Michael Brown "Generation of Highly Inclined Trans-Neptunian Objects by Planet Nine" The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 10th December 2016, 833:L3 (5pp)

7)  Mike Wall "'Planet Nine' Can't Hide Much Longer, Scientists Say" 20th October 2016

8)  James Vesper & Paul Mason "Simulation of Rogue Planet Encounters with the Solar System: Is Planet 9 a Captured Rogue?" January 2017, American Astronomical Society, AAS Meeting #229, id.424.05,

9)  Bob Yirka "Simulations suggest Planet Nine may have been a rogue" 12th January 2017

10)  Zecharia Sitchin "The Twelfth Planet" Avon 1976, and the subsequent Earth Chronicles series, by the same publisher as well as Bear & Co.


Image Credit: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)
























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