Andy Lloyd's Dark Star Blog
Blog 86 (November-December
suggests IRAS May Have Detected Planet X in 1983
A British astronomer has reviewed the
IRAS data from way back in 1983 and come up with a
possible location for Planet X - around RA 319 Dec
60. While Planet Nine hunters have a candidate
target to point their telescopes towards, let's
examine how this new evidence came to light:
There haven't been too many sky
surveys conducted in infra-red. It's
problematic doing them from Earth, even in the
coldest climates, because the heat in the
environment creates an infra-red fog to peer through
into space. Better then to use space-based
telescopes, even if they have a relatively limited
The most effective to date has been
WISE. During its tour of duty it appears to
have failed to detect Planet X, despite covering a
lot of the sky. However, its lifetime was
quite short so it may have missed a slow-moving
object that would have become more apparent over an
extended period of time. After all, it's the
variation in position against background stars that
makes solar system objects stand out from the crowd.
The further away they are, the more difficult they
are to spot both in terms of position and reflected
It's helpful, then, to consult other
sky surveys at other times, to get a clearer picture
of how candidate objects may have shifted ground,
however marginally. there has been a lot of
debate in the Planet X community about whether the
1983 sky survey by IRAS picked out Planet X.
The excitement generated among IRAS
astronomers about some mysterious infrared objects
(1) were widely reported at the time (2), then sank
without trace. In response to the
understandable interest in the apparent discovery of
a brown dwarf in the solar system back in 1983 (in
the constellation Orion), more recent analysis of
these articles in the astronomy press have poured
cold water over the possible candidate objects.
the IRAS observations in the 1984 paper were
distant, ultra-luminous young galaxies and one was a
filamentary structure known as “infrared cirrus”
floating in intergalactic space." (3)
However, no actual explanation has
ever been forthcoming about what the actual object
in Orion was - just that the brown dwarf/massive
planet speculation was one among a number of
possibilities scientists were considering - at least
early on in their deliberations.
Although the above Washington Post
article was the most famous of the IRAS anomalies,
I've always found the Sagittarius 'sighting' more
intriguing, not least because of the way this was
reported in the science press in the UK at the time:
object's infrared emission shows that it has a
temperature of around 230K. This is too cool for a
star yet to (sic) hot for a dust cloud. It could be
a distant gaseous planet, several times heavier than
Jupiter and giving off heat as its own gravity
causes it to shrink in size. Whatever it is, say the
British astronomers, the Americans have been keeping
very quiet about it in recent weeks." (3)
More about this in my books
'Dark Star' (2005) and
'Darker Stars' (2018). Suffice it to say,
the position of the candidate object in the sky is
also a possible reason why this object has been so
difficult to pin down: Sagittarius is the
constellation featuring the centre of the Milky Way,
which offers a highly luminous and complex backdrop
within which to hunt for a distant world. If
Planet X is hiding in there, then it's little wonder
it's so hard to detect!
Despite the scepticism shown by some
scientists about the IRAS data and its possible
connection to Planet X (3), other scientists
consider it worthwhile to revisit the issue.
The result of recent analysis of the IRAS data has
provided what could be exciting new evidence:
Michael Rowan-Robinson of Imperial College London in
the UK conducted an analysis of data collected by
the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) in 1983,
and found a trio of point sources that just might be
Planet Nine. This, Rowan-Robinson concludes in
his preprint paper, is actually fairly unlikely to
be a real detection, but the possibility does mean
that it could be used to model where the planet
might be now in order to conduct a more targeted
search, in the quest to confirm or rule out its
The scientific paper which
Rowan-Robinson has written sets out more detail
about his analysis, and rules out most possible
anomalies to leave just one candidate
(314.83499+64.21527) which could fulfil the criteria
for Planet Nine, as it is currently envisaged within
the scientific community:
"For a lower
mass planet (< 5 earth masses) in the distance range
200-400 AU, we expect a pair or triplet of single
HCONs with separations 2-35 arcmin. Several hundred
candidate associations are found and have been
examined with Scanpi. A single candidate for Planet
9 survives which satisfies the requirements for
detected and non-detected HCON passes. A fitted
orbit suggest a distance of 225+-15 AU and a mass of
3-5 earth masses." (6)
Rowan-Robinson then plots out the
possible path of the elusive planet across the sky
in the last 40 years or so, and gently urges
astronomers to take a fresh look at this area of sky
to see if it's hiding within that zone of interest
(~RA 319 Dec 60). Fingers crossed...
Written by Andy Lloyd, 26th November
1) Houck, J. R.
et al. "Unidentified point sources in the IRAS minisurvey."
Astrophysical Journal, 278: p.
2) Thomas O'Toole
"Possibly as Large as Jupiter" 30 December 1983
Washington Post article
Grossmann "Did The Washington Post confirm Nibiru’s
Redfern and Nigel Henbest "Has IRAS found a tenth
planet?" New Scientist, 10 November 1983 Vol.
New Scientist article
Starr "Mysterious Object Glimpsed Decades Ago Might
Have Actually Been Planet Nine" 16 November 2021
with thanks to John
Science Alert article
Rowan-Robinson "A search for Planet 9 in the IRAS
data" 11 Nov 2021 Accepted for publication in MNRAS
The Lunar Bombardment
A new isotopic study of lunar rocks has indicated
that the cratering of the Moon's surface occurred by debris left
over from the Earth's formation. In a paper that seems to tear
up a lot of what is currently thought to have happened in the early
solar system, a research team from WWU
Münster argue that the lunar bombardment did not take place 3.9
billion years ago as generally thought (1).
Instead, the impacts occurred much earlier, in the
immediate aftermath of the early cataclysms that marked the
formation of the Earth/Moon system (2).
""Our research shows that the
bombardment of the Moon was by the same bodies that formed the Earth
and Moon," explains planetologist and lead author of the study Dr.
Emily Worsham. The impact craters on the Moon, therefore, are due to
a continuous bombardment of leftover asteroids from the main phase
of the Earth's formation. This also allows scientists to rule out a
sudden increase in the impact rate due to bombardment with bodies
from the outer solar system." (1)
The Late Heavy Bombardment was a cluster of massive
bombardments that occurred over a long period of time around 3.9
billion years ago. It is thought to have affected all of the
planets and moons in the inner solar system, including Earth.
This devastating and sustained bombardment is a mystery because it
occurred long after the planets formed 4.5-4.6 billion years ago.
Why did this cluster happen after the solar system had essentially
settled down for half a billion years? Many ideas have been
put forward, largely to do with a significant migration of the gas
giants (an essential component of the Nice model of solar system
formation). This new isotopic study of lunar rocks shows that
the Moon's impactors did not originate from the outer solar system
(the isotopic signatures of ruthenium and molybdenum would have
differed significantly if they had). Which means, the
that the migratory tussle of the gas giants must have happened very
early on. This fits with the Nice model's concept of
gravitational interaction with the remnants of the Sun's ptotoplanetary disk.
Citing a 1977 article (3), the authors of this new
paper pick up the argument that the previously studied lunar rocks
(that suggested that dating of the LHB) came mostly from a single
impact basin on the north-central Earth-facing side of the moon
named the Mare Imbrium (1). This localised sampling then led to a
skewing of the dating statistics. To further support this
argument, they point out that earlier impact dates have been
determined for other lunar craters (4).
However, evidence for the Late Heavy Bombardment is
widespread across the solar system. Although the Münster press release seems to tear up the LBH, in
the paper itself the authors recognise that it is a reality:
"Nevertheless, the general
agreement among the
age frequency distributions of Apollo samples, lunar meteorites,
howardite-eucrite-diogenite meteorites (thought to derive from
asteroid 4 Vesta), and H chondrites indicates that an LHB occurred
and affected the entire inner solar system. Hence, there is no doubt
that an LHB occurred, but its origin remains elusive."
So this argument is more about what happened to the
Moon in particular, rather than about the more generalised - and
mysterious - bombardment that occurred around 3.9 billion years ago.
The central issue here continues to be the need for a
trigger event to kick the late bombardment off:
"A cataclysmic LHB would require a
dynamic impetus that led to a sudden increase in impact rate."
Absolutely. So, if scientists are ruling out a late migratory event, how could this
possibly have happened?
Time to think outside the box. What is rarely - if ever - considered is that
the Earth/Moon system might have itself migrated
inwards at the start of that bombardment event. As I have
written about in my 2019 book 'Darker
Stars', some asteroids in the outer main belt also have
Earth/Moon isotopic signatures, suggestive of a common origin (5).
I have argued that the LBH followed a
serious impact and localised gravitational tussle (i.e. with Nibiru
and its moons, as suggested by the late Zecharia Sitchin (6)).
The resultant debris stream would then account for the subsequent
cluster of impacts with objects with Earth/Moon composition.
The intervention of a usurper Planet X object makes a
lot more sense than the rather confused arguments that
astrophysicists are currently tussling with.
Written by Andy Lloyd,
bombardment of the Moon revealed" 29 October 2021
with thank to Lee
2) Emily Worsham and
Thorsten Kleine “Late accretionary history of Earth
and Moon preserved in lunar impactites”. Science
Advances, 7; doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abh2837, 2021
3) G. A. Schaeffer and O. A. Schaeffer "39Ar/40Ar
ages of lunar rocks", in Proc. Lunar Sci. Conf. 8th,
4) Marc Norman
and Alexander Nemchin "A 4.2 billion year old impact basin on the Moon: U-Pb dating of
zirconolite and apatite in lunar melt rock 67955" Earth Planet. Sci.
Lett. 388, 387–398 (2014)
5) Andy Lloyd 'Darker
Stars' Timeless Voyager Press 2019
6) Zecharia Sitchin "The
Twelfth Planet" Avon Books 1976
The Twelfth Planet
Emerging from the Water World
We have long taken for granted the
land masses on Earth. Perhaps less so now as our oceans begin
their slow ascent due to anthropogenic global warming. Especially
for those living along decaying coastlines or in sea-facing cities.
However, scientists have known for some time that the landmasses weren't
always there: Very early on in Earth's 4.6 billion year history,
the planet transformed from convulsing molten rock to water world.
For a long time, the surface of the early Earth was just water. At
some point later, land masses began to rise above the planet's global
water line. These first continents are known as 'cratons' by
New research suggests that these
cratons emerged much earlier than previously thought. The
consensus scientific opinion placed the emergence of landmasses to
around 2.5 billion years ago. Now that timeline might be extended
back to as early as 3.4 billion years.
have found sedimentary rocks — which form from the broken-up bits of
other rocks that have undergone erosion and weathering — that date back
to that era. Such sedimentary rocks could only form once land broke
through the surface of early Earth's oceans."
This new timeline is now much closer
to the Late, Heavy Bombardment (LHB) 3.9 billion years ago. Around
the time of this extended bombardment the Earth was entirely covered in
water. During the bombardment, asteroids/meteorites striking the
Earth would have plunged into deep oceans, therefore leaving no surface
cratering (not so on the Moon, of course, which still shows the
monumental impact of this period of bombardment).
According to Zecharia Sitchin's
interpretations of ancient Mesopotamian myth, Babylonian cosmology
included a watery planet known as Tiamat (2). This watery planet
was rendered asunder by the usurper planet Marduk (associated with a
Planet X body often called Nibiru) and its moons. Sitchin asserts
that the early, watery Earth was Tiamat; whilst Marduk has disappeared
I've often argued that the LHB was
the time of this great Cosmic Battle (3). So it's interesting that
Earth's first landmasses arose sometime after the LHB. If
Sitchin's account is correct, the early Earth lost a very significant
amount of water during its encounter with Marduk (which involved a
collision with a small moon described by the Babylonians as the 'North
Wind', and an orbital shift inwards). The encounter resulted in
vaporised oceans and a spillage of precious water into space.
Less water, more likelihood of emerging landmasses...
Also bear in mind recent scientific
speculation that substantial fragments of the impactor body may lie deep
within the Earth, threading a line from the Pacific Ocean through to
West Africa (4).
Written by Andy Lloyd,
Lanese “Earth's 1st continents arose hundreds of
millions of years earlier than thought” 8 November
2021 with thanks to Lee
2) Zecharia Sitchin "The
Twelfth Planet" Avon Books 1976
3) Andy Lloyd 'The Dark
Star' Timeless Voyager Press 2005
The Dark Star
4) Andy Lloyd "Theia and Pole
Reversals" 28 October 2021
As with science more generally, the
Dark Star website has been debating the origin of
Earth's water for a long time (1). What's
unusual here is that the anomalies thrown up by the
Earth's abundant oceans form part of an argument
about the origin of the planet itself. Put
simply, the Earth is too close to the Sun to have so
much water remaining on it. The water should
have been blasted away long ago by heat and the
action of the solar wind.
Scientists have long answered this
using the 'late veneer' hypothesis whereby water is
deposited during the impact of water-rich asteroids
and comets. It's a complex offering, with a
competing but allied concept of 'late accretion' to
consider (2). Either way, the chemical
composition of water here on Earth - and among the
asteroids and comets most likely to have caused this
water-dump - don't match (3). Instead, Earth's
water more closely matches asteroids located in the
outer asteroid belt.
Picking up on Zecharia Sitchin's
notion of a migrating Earth - following a collision
during an encounter with a rogue Planet X body and
its moons (4) - the whole mystery could be resolved
in an Occam's Razor sort of way by assuming that
Earth formed where the asteroid belt currently is.
Indeed, the belt itself may be debris from the
cosmic encounter with the rogue planet, containing
chunks of our own planet. The concept of
migrating planets is hardly new. Indeed, much
of our current cosmology rest upon it (e.g. the Nice
model). Earth's formation in this zone would
likely require Jupiter to have formed a bit further
out, but this is hardly beyond the realm of
Image Credit: Curtin University
Recent scientific work may offer an
alternative explanation - at least partly.
Instead of comets and asteroids being the vectors
for water delivery, how about the solar wind?
Space dust is prevalent throughout the solar system
(seen in the so-called zodiacal light'). The
action of the solar wind can ionise hydrogen into
protons, allowing chemical reactions on the surface
of dust grains which can lead to the production of
water. This concept has been used to account
for anomalously high water content distributed
within the dusty regolith on the Moon's surface
of water as this special, magical compound,” said
William M. Farrell, a plasma physicist at NASA’s
Goddard Space Flight Center ... “But here’s what’s
amazing: every rock has the potential to make water,
especially after being irradiated by the solar
That chemical activity also appears
to be happening on asteroids. Scientists
examining samples from Japan’s Hayabusa spacecraft
mission, which brought part of the asteroid Itokawa
to Earth in 2010, have determined that the isotope
ratio of water has been unexpectedly skewed (6).
They consider this to be a result of the action of
the Solar Wind providing an 'additional
isotopically light reservoir' of proton-rich
hydrogen ions, and thus water:
"We used atom probe tomography to
directly observe an average ~1 mol% enrichment in
water and hydroxyls in the solar-wind-irradiated rim
of an olivine grain from the S-type asteroid Itokawa.
We also experimentally confirm that H+ irradiation
of silicate mineral surfaces produces water
molecules. These results suggest that the Itokawa
regolith could contain ~20 L m−3 of
solar-wind-derived water and that such water
reservoirs are probably ubiquitous on airless worlds
throughout our Galaxy." (7)
It's a big jump from this finding to
water generation on a planet wrapped with a
significant atmosphere, like Earth. After all,
the chemical reactions take place on the
rock which, on Earth, is shielded from
proton bombardment. Further, water created
during the primordial Earth phases would be subject
to drying activities by the Sun. This abundant
delivery system should also have profound
repercussions for water on Mars, surely?
At the moment it seems reasonable to
conclude that Earth's weird water remains an
Written by Andy Lloyd, 7th
1) Andy Lloyd
'The Great Water Conundrum'
2nd April 2002
Morbidelli & Bernard Wood "Late Accretion and the
Late Veneer" 17 Nov 2014
3) Michael Drake & Kevin Righter
“Determining the composition of the Earth” Nature,
416: 39-44 (7th March) 2002
4) Zecharia Sitchin "The
Twelfth Planet" Avon Books 1976
5) Lonnie Shekhtman "How
Ingredients for Water Could Be Made on the Surface
of Moon" 20 February 2019
6) Ellen Phiddian "Did Earth
get its water from… the Sun?" 30 November 2021 with
thanks to Lee
Cosmos Magazine article
7) Luke Daly et al "Solar wind
contributions to Earth’s oceans" Nat Astron, 29
A Myriad of Rogue Planets
Spotting exoplanets orbiting other stars has become so
commonplace an activity that new additions to the cast of thousands are
barely mentioned anymore. Indeed, the emphasis has shifted more
towards whether we'll be able to detect telltale signs of life on them.
Once fully operational, the recently launched James Webb space telescope
will likely provide some incredibly tantalising data about many of these
The growing back-catalogue of exoplanets is mostly
comprised of worlds that orbit stars. Indeed, their proximity to
their parent suns has enabled their detection in many cases.
Minute but regular star wobbles, tiny routine dips in light, and
sometimes even a reflective glimmer in young star's dust disk.
However, there is a whole category of stars which remain in the shadows
- rogue planets. These cold, isolated worlds drift through the
vast desert of interstellar space between the stars, most likely ejected
from their home stars when they were but pups. Discovering them is
difficult, but has been accomplished in the past. A new study by
ESO teams working at several observatories has revealed between 70 and
170 new free-floating planets, depending on the age assumed for the
explored region ( a patch of sky taking in upper Scorpius and Ophiucus)
Image Credit: ESO/N. Risinger
Previously, forensic examination using complex computer
simulations of other star clusters has led astrophysicists to predict
how many rogue planets might be floating around unseen within the herd.
Such forays have led to figures like 50 billion free-floating planets
out there in the Milky Way (2). But coming up with a number for
the galactic population is tricky, with many question marks remaining.
That's why it so helpful to actually spot the blighters out there in the
darkness, particularly when they're young and relatively bright.
"“There could be several
billions of these free-floating giant planets roaming freely in the
Milky Way without a host star,” [Hervé]
Bouy [an astronomer at the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de
Bordeaux] explains. By studying the newly
found rogue planets, astronomers may find clues to how these mysterious
objects form. Some scientists believe rogue planets can form from the
collapse of a gas cloud that is too small to lead to the formation of a
star, or that they could have been kicked out from their parent system.
But which mechanism is more likely remains unknown." (1)
Many of the new rogue planets observed by ESO fall into
the category of brown dwarfs - sub-stellar objects which have masses
between 13 and 80 Jupiter masses. There are at least 70 of these
new objects in this patch of sky. However, the age of the region
is uncertain, which complicates matters. If the study region is
(relatively) old, then the 70 objects is a considerable under-estimate
(3). This is because many sub-brown dwarfs will have cooled down
sufficiently to become invisible to us - the objects below 13 Mj are now
dark, and so won't have been spotted in this search.
Interestingly, the implicit conclusion here is that there are likely to
be many more objects between, say, 3Mj and 13Mj (the objects I call
'Dark Stars') than between 13Mj and 80Mj. This has been argued
recently elsewhere (4).
Image credit: ESO/L. Calçada/P. Delorme/Nick Risinger/R.
So, here's the thing. There is an abundance of massive
planets floating around in interstellar space. Fact.
Interstellar space is mind-wrenchingly vast, so the chance of one of
these worlds making a close flyby of a star is low, but not negligibly
low. The more Dark Stars there are out there, the more likely they
make such flybys, particularly within early, chaotic star-birthing
regions (5). As a result, any examination of our own Sun's early
history should include a non-zero potential for such an event to have
occurred - with potentially important repercussions.
Written by Andy Lloyd, 26th
1) European Southern Observatory "ESO
telescopes help uncover largest group of rogue
planets yet" 22 December 2021
2) Paul Scott Anderson "There
may be 50 billion free-floating planets in our
galaxy" 10 March 2019
3) Nuria Miret-Roig et al.
" A rich population of free-floating planets in the
Upper Scorpius young stellar association"
4) Wittenmyer, R. A. et al.
"Cool Jupiters greatly outnumber their toasty
siblings: occurrence rates from the Anglo-Australian
Planet Search", Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc.,
492(1): 377–383, February 2020
oup.com mnras article
5) Long Wang et al.
"Close encounters involving free-floating planets in
star clusters", Monthly Notices of the Royal
Astronomical Society, 449(4): 3543–3558, June
oup.com mnras article
Quest for the Humanzee - The
As well as bringing this blog up into
the mobile age, I've been overhauling my original
Dark Star website darkstar1.co.uk. As
part of that effort, I've substantially updated one
of my essays from 2005. It's good to breathe
some new life into what was such a popular website.
The updated article is about human-ape
hybridisation, and you can read more here:
A rare 1990 radio interview with
Zecharia Sitchin has been made available free
In this interview, circa 1990, Bruce
Stephen Holms - host of Timeless Voyager Radio - asks Zecharia Sitchin many questions about the Sumerian's
record of the Anunnaki. Holms's interviewing style
makes it easy to listen to the dialogue which
investigates the "pre-history" of humans.
According to Sitchin, who is one of a handful of
people who can read and translate the Sumerian
language believes that these "historical" records
are not mythology but rather a long history of
pre-human existence on our planet by
Zecharia Sitchin author of a number
of books proposing an explanation for human origins
involving ancient astronauts. Sitchin attributed
the creation of the ancient Sumerian culture to the
Anunnaki, which he stated was a race of
extraterrestrials from a planet beyond Neptune
called Nibiru. He asserts that Sumerian
mythology suggests that this planet Nibiru has an
elongated, 3,600-year-long elliptical orbit around
the sun. Sitchin says that the Annunaki lived on
Earth for 300,000 years before they (the Anunnaki)
genetically created mankind.