Below is a partial transcript
from a December 2001 chat hosted by Hunt for
Planet X. The guest for this portion of the chat was Dr. Tom Van Flandern.
He gives his latest views on Planet X and also on the 3600 year orbit.
Hunt For Planet X Club
*** Tom_Van_Flandern has joined #huntforplanetx
*TT* Welcome Mr. Van Flandern
*Tom_Van_Flandern* Hi, TT and everybody.
*TT* I would like to introduce
Dr. Thomas Van Flandern, author of 'Dark
Matter, Missing Planets and New Comets', also founder of the Meta
Research web site. You will find the link on our home page. Welcome
Mr. Van Flandern.
*Tom_Van_Flandern* I'm happy
to join you this evening. I didn't prepare
any remarks. Should I make some general observations about "Planet X"?
*TT* Actually, I would love hear
anything new that you might have observed
yourself and, of course, any remarks you may have on Planet X. And maybe a
bit about your relationship with Mr. Harrington. I have a great deal of respect
for the work both of you did together.
Planet X, we think Sitchin made some good
points, but has made mistakes too. For example, the 3600-year-orbit Sitchin
proposes is dynamically unstable. (Short translation: Only a planet with
artificial propulsion could continue to occupy such a magical orbit.) Stability
requirements lead us to conclude that any "real" Planet X could not come
any closer to us than the orbit of Uranus.
*Tom_Van_Flandern* Bob Harrington
and I were colleagues at the U.S. Naval
Observatory from the late 1960 until I left in 1983. His untimely death about
8 years ago was a loss for all of us.
*TT* What kind of orbit would you find stable for such a planet?
*Tom_Van_Flandern* An orbit that
does not cross or approach any other
planet would probably be stable. Comet Hale-Bopp came in from about
the distance of Sitchin's "Marduk" or "Nibiru". When it approached, its
orbital period was 4200 years. But after one quick pass through the planetary
region (even with no close approaches), that period was reduced to 2400 years
as it left. You can see how difficult it would be for a planet to come close, yet
maintain a period of 3600 years.
*Eljean* so when you say stable,
you mean not erratic? Consistently predicted?
Forgive my ignorance.
*Tom_Van_Flandern* "Stable" means
the orbit stays roughly the same over
time. Unstable means the orbit changes drastically on each revolution, and
eventually gets kicked out of the solar system. Comet Hale-Bopp, like all
comets, had an unstable orbit.
*TT* Would it not depend on the mass?
*Tom_Van_Flandern* A small body's
orbit is always independent of its own
mass. It's like the Tower of Pisa experiment. Light and heavy balls fall at
the same rate in a gravitational field.
*Eljean* I liken what you are
saying, Tom, to a boxing match. Rather than one
big "KO", the body blows (approaches) really take their toll over time. Right?
*Tom_Van_Flandern* True, Eijean.
*Tom_Van_Flandern* The astronomical
evidence for Planet X indicated
mainly that un-modeled forces were acting on the outer planets and a few
comets. We now know about two new asteroid belts beyond Neptune with
considerable mass in each. These greatly complicate the picture, and might
conceivably account for the un-modeled forces without need of something
more. It seems possible that Planet X is now an asteroid belt in the Kuiper
*Eljean* About the complicating
evidence and all its implications for PX,
what say you, Dr V?
*Tom_Van_Flandern* I think the
evidence now favors that Planet X is an
asteroid belt (the Kuiper belt). In any case, we have no hope of predicting its
location until we determine the mass of the Kuiper belt.
*Eljean* Could Jim's theory encompass that?
*Tom_Van_Flandern* Eijean, I
must assume I missed something essential
at the start of Jim's remarks. I'm unaware of how asteroids in the Kuiper belt
could form a chain at any epoch.
*TT* It will be in the transcript for you to read, Mr. Van Flandern.
*TT* Question is how did it get that way?
*Tom_Van_Flandern* Probably the
same way that "Planet K" got to be the
main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter -- by explosion, according to
*Tim_Edwards* If so, do you give
any credence to Z. Sitchin's account for the
much closer Asteroid Belt?
*Tom_Van_Flandern* Tim, which
particular part? Sitchin hypothesized that
the main asteroid belt was over a billion years old. I see evidence that it is
only 25% of that age. My recollection (possibly faulty -- it's been years) is
that the Tiamat collision was over a billion years ago in Sitchin's translations.
*Tim_Edwards* He proposed that
the satellites of Planet X collided with
Tiamat on its initial passage.
*TT* Did you want to pass on
anything else regarding any new material you
are working on, Mr. Van Flandern, before you leave us?
*Tom_Van_Flandern* Our latest
research can be found at metaresearch.org.
The latest findings are about the Leonid meteor storm last month, which will
be published soon. Good night, and happy holidays to all!
*TT* Thank you so much, Mr. Van
Flandern for your time! Happy Holidays
to you and your family.