Infrared observations = Planet X
There is much emphasis placed on the 1983 "discovery" of a mysterious heavenly body by NASA's Infrared Astronomical Satellite(IRAS) on the outskirts of the Solar system, some 50 billion miles (540 AU) away. Naturally the world's media will have been very excited by such adiscovery and began making noises that perhaps this was Planet X (the most popular accessibleresources for Planet X advocates is the Washington Post article published on December 31st1983 titled "Mystery Heavenly Body Discovered"). In actuality, astronomers weren't sure whatthe infrared object was (the clue is in the word "mystery"). Initial media reports postulated that itcould be a long-period comet,
a far-off young galaxy
). As soon as the last possibility is mentioned, suddenly this became the "discovery" thatPlanet X was in fact a brown dwarf orbiting in the outer reaches of our Solar System."
So mysterious is the object that astronomers
do not know
if it is a planet, a giant comet, anearby "protostar" that never got hot enough to become a star, a distant galaxy so young that it is still in the process of forming its first starsor a galaxy so shrouded in dust that none of thelight cast by its starsever gets through
." - Thomas O'Toole, Washington Post Staff Writer,December 30th 1983 (from text on the Planet X and Pole Shift website)
So where did the Washington Post get its story? The story was published in response to theresearch printed a paper titled "
" (by Houck etal, published in
Astrophysical Journal Letters
, 278:L63, 1984). Dr. Gerry Neugebauer, co-investigator in the IRAS project, was interviewed and strongly stated that what IRAS had seenwas not "incoming mail" (i.e. the results
suggest there was an object approaching Earth).On reading this interesting research, I was especially drawn to the paper's conclusion:"
A number of candidate identifications have been considered including
near-solar system, galactic, and extragalactic objects
. Further observations at infrared and other wavelengths may provide additional information in support of one of these conjectures, or perhaps