Why Is It Called Nibiru? The Doomsday Planet's Name Is One Of The Most Interesting Parts Of The Theory

If you're reading this, it's safe to assume you've already heard of Planet X, the year's most popular doomsday theory. If not, you may have encountered its alias, Nibiru. The reason for calling it "Planet X" is fairly self-explanatory, but why is it called Nibiru? It's the natural next question after wondering how scientists could possibly fail to notice a giant rogue planet allegedly lurking in the outer edges of the solar system. (The answer to that question, by the way, is because there's nothing to notice. Nibiru's existence has been debunked by numerous scientific organizations.)

In case you've managed to avoid it so far, here's the basics of the theory: According to conspiracy theorists, a giant planet known as Nibiru or Planet X allegedly spends most of its time in the outer solar system, but every once in a while, its orbit supposedly takes it into Earth's personal space — close enough to allegedly cause worldwide mass extinctions. Some theories take it a step further and claim that Nibiru is on a direct collision course with Earth. Either way, Nibiru is supposed to bring death and destruction this very month... unless it fails to show up again, of course (which, let's face it, is likely).

It sounds like something from a science fiction novel, and fortunately for the residents of Earth, it's just about as real. "There is no credible existence whatever for the existence of Nibiru," explains NASA senior scientist David Morrison, Ph.D., in the video below.

Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute on YouTube

So now that you know that the apocalypse is less than impending, let's talk about where the name came from. The word "nibiru" comes from an ancient Babylonian language, Akkadian. More properly spelled as "neberu," it roughly translates to mean a crossing or place of ferrying. According to an article in the Cuneiform Digital Library Bulletin, ancient Babylonians may have used the word to mean "any visible astronomical object that marks an equinox," but it often referred to Jupiter in its path across the sky. It may have also been used in the context of deities, who were often associated with the stars and planets. Basically, the word's exact meaning depends on the context, but it combines astronomy, deities, and the act of crossing over.

The modern Nibiru theory claims to be based in ancient Sumerian texts referring to a mysterious, undiscovered planet on the edges of the solar system. Sound familiar? Although the origins of that myth have been questioned by academics, it's easy to see how a doomsday planet wound up being named Nibiru.

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As mentioned above, though, Nibiru is nothing to worry about. To be fair, astronomers are fairly certain that a ninth planet exists somewhere past Neptune, and it's large enough to mess with the orbit of nearby stars. But so far, it has a far less imaginative name: Planet Nine. It's hard to be scared of something with such a boring name, don't you think?

Image: Giphy