Planet Nine Won't Destroy Earth This Month Or Ever, So The Only End Of The World Scenarios You Need To Worry About Are Right Here On Earth
Whenever the heavens decide that enough is enough and decide to destroy our planet, it seems that it isn't scheduled for the next few weeks, despite reports to the contrary. The scientific consensus is that, happily, Planet Nine will not be destroying the Earth this month, no matter what the New York Post seems to think. And let's be honest — if the 2016 presidential election hasn't convinced some higher power to destroy us, nothing will.
So what is Planet Nine anyway? Well, comfortingly, it might not even exist. Planet Nine is a hypothetical, previously undetected planet orbiting the sun somewhere way out beyond even Pluto's orbit. The case for the hypothetical planet was made in January by astronomers Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, and since then, a lot more supporting evidence has come to light. However, the planet's existence remains unconfirmed.
Whether Planet Nine is real or not, though, the idea that it might kill us all is not actually supported by science. In writing their post, the New York Post seems to have conflated the newly hypothetical Planet Nine with other hypothetical celestial bodies whose existence — and potential for global destruction — have been previously debunked, such as Planet X, Niburu, and Nemesis. Basically, they're all the sorts of thing where the most reliable sources talking about them are Wikipedia articles.
In their take, the New York Post conflates certain aspects of these previous astronomical doomsday theories with the hypothetical existence of Planet Nine. In a bizarrely cheerful video about the topic, the Post claims that when Planet Nine orbits close to Earth, it pulls asteroids towards Earth, which then potentially cause mass extinction events. And that we are scheduled for one some time this month.
So that's a fun time.
The problem, of course, with this theory is that it isn't actually backed up by any of the researchers involved. For instance, here's what the two guys who formally proposed the Planet Nine theory this January had to say about the doomsday scenario on Twitter:
Moreover, one of the researchers who first put forth the Planet X theory back in the 1990s told Snopes when asked about whether the world is ending this month, "No truth to the story at all. That's quite impossible."
And NASA was similarly unimpressed.
So we can all breathe a little easier. Because even though there are still a lot of ways humans are courting potential disaster, from global warming to possibly giving Donald Trump nuclear launch codes, it seems that the impersonal movements of the planets are not a threat. And the rest of it is theoretically something we can fix.