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Brazilian astronomer Rodney Gomes did not discover any planets beyond Neptune and Nbiru does not exist. There are no known threats of collision with Earth coming in July or December 2012.

The news media picked up the study reported by Gomes at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Division on Dynamical Astronomy. As best I can tell, he has only published an abstract - a projected summary of the work he was planning to report on - of the computer research he reported at the meeting about two weeks ago. The research itself has not been vetted by the astronomical community or published and results could change by the time the research is published.

In his research, Dr. Gomes studied the motions of a small subset of distant objects belonging to the Sun's inner Oort Cloud. (This "cloud" is the source of long period comets, those that have orbits in excess of 200 years between returns.) We are able to observe these small, distant objects with large telescopes. They orbit the Sun beyond the orbit of Neptune and are typically 30-120 miles in diameter. More than 2000 are known and Gomes selected about 90 for special study, based on their somewhat unusual orbits around the Sun.

Dr. Gomes concluded that the orbits of these objects could have been brought to their current shapes, orientations, and sizes by a Mars-size planet orbiting the Sun with an egg-shaped orbit getting as close to the Sun as 5 billion miles *OR* a Neptune-size planet orbiting 140 billion miles from the Sun, well outside the orbit of Pluto. In either case, the possible planet is suggested to be in a regular orbit around the Sun and would not be a threat of collision with Earth.

The work presented does not provide predictions for where to look for this object (either option). Also, the language used to describe the findings does not distinguish between size meaning diameter and size meaning mass (or weight). Until his findings are formally published we won't know where to look for this object and what to look for, if it exists and if a prediction of its position can be made.

I am very doubtful about the existence of such a predicted planet orbiting the Sun. Sky surveys that have been done over the years (especially infrared surveys) would probably have picked up planet-size objects like those he suggests. Also, the (now retired) astronomer, Myles Standish, who kept track of the orbits of the planets for JPL and NASA, would have seen the effects of Gomes' planet in the orbital motions of the known planets in the Solar System; I had conversations about claims like Gomes' several times with him before he retired.

Gomes' findings could be the result of the one-time passage of a "free-floating" planet near the Solar System. Such a free-floater planet does not orbit a star but orbits our Milky Way's core instead. An explanation like this cannot be tested or verified.

Nbiru does not exist. It is a myth, and like the numerous past predictions of the end of the world, this July (an end-of-the-world date I had not heard about) and this December will pass with Earth continuing to smoothly orbit the Sun. NASA is tracking numerous small asteroids that cross Earth's orbit but none are threats over the next decade and beyond. I hope you devote your energy to having a good summer and a joyous holiday season.

Stephen Edberg
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
California Institute of Technology

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Last Updated: 3 Feb 2014