Expert says Planet X Nibiru is drawing closer to Earth
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Following the discovery of the planet Neptune in 1846, there was considerable speculation that another planet might exist beyond its orbit. The search began in the mid-19th century and culminated at the start of the 20th with Percival Lowell's quest for Planet X. Lowell proposed the Planet X hypothesis to explain apparent discrepancies in the orbits of the gas giants, particularly Uranus and Neptune, speculating that the gravity of a large unseen ninth planet could have perturbed Uranus enough to account for the irregularities. The Nibiru cataclysm is a supposed disastrous encounter between the Earth and a large planetary object (either a collision or a near-miss) which certain groups believe will take place in the early 21st century. Believers in this doomsday event usually refer to this object as Planet X or Nibiru. The idea that a planet-sized object will collide with or pass by Earth in the near future is supported by some scientific evidence. Nancy Leider states that she was chosen to warn mankind that the object would sweep through the inner Solar System causing Earth to undergo a pole shift that would destroy most of humanity. Although the name "Nibiru" is derived from the works of the late ancient astronaut writer Zecharia Sitchin and his interpretations of Babylonian and Sumerian mythology, Sitchin denied any connection between his work and various claims of a coming apocalypse. Lieder described Planet X as roughly four times the size of the Earth, resulting in the Earth's rotation ceasing for exactly 5.9 terrestrial days. This would be followed by the Earth's pole destabilising in a pole shift (a physical pole shift, with the Earth's pole physically moving, rather than a geomagnetic reversal) caused by magnetic attraction between the Earth's core and the magnetism of the passing planet. This in turn would disrupt the Earth's magnetic core and lead to subsequent displacement of the Earth's crust. Many believers in the imminent approach of Planet X/Nibiru accuse NASA of deliberately covering up visual evidence of its existence. One such accusation involves the IRAS infrared space observatory, launched in 1983. The satellite briefly made headlines due to an "unknown object" that was at first described as "possibly as large as the giant planet Jupiter and possibly so close to Earth that it would be part of this Solar System". This newspaper article has been cited by proponents of the Nibiru cataclysm, beginning with Lieder herself, as evidence for the existence of Nibiru. Another accusation frequently made by websites predicting the collision is that the U.S. government built the South Pole Telescope (SPT) to track Nibiru's trajectory, and that the object has been imaged optically.