spaceSpace and Physics

The Nibiru Cataclysm, Which Conspiracists Think Should Have Killed Us 5 Times By Now

According to conspiracists, Nibiru will wipe out life on Earth.

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

James is a published author with four pop-history and science books to his name. He specializes in history, strange science, and anything out of the ordinary.

Senior Staff Writer

The star V383 Monocerotis.

The star V383 Monocerotis, falsely claimed by conspiracists to show Nibiru.

Image credit: NASA/ESA/H.E. Bond

If you lived through the apocalypse of 2012, the second apocalypse of 2012, and the apocalypse of 2017, there's a chance the name Nibiru may ring a bell.

According to doomsayers and conspiracy theorists, Nibiru is a planet within our Solar System that will one day slam into Earth, ending life as we know it. The planet, supposedly discovered by the Sumerians, has an orbit that takes it close to Earth every 3,600 years


That idea in itself isn't quite cool enough for conspiracy theorists, who of course went on to predict that the planet would dinosaur the humans. The predictors made the mistake of choosing dates that the planet would hit us, including the "end" of the Maya calendar on December 21, 2012. While the Maya long-count period did end on this date, there was of course no reason to believe that that the world would end too. When you get to December 31, you don't scream "WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE," but get out a new calendar, just as the Maya calendar would begin a new long-count period.

Sure enough, the planet did not hit us in 2012, nor in 2017 when conspiracy theorists gave naming a date another go. The reason for this lack of impact is that the planet does not exist.

"Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an Internet hoax. There is no factual basis for these claims," NASA explained patiently in 2012. "If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth [...] astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye. Obviously, it does not exist."

While there is debate about whether the Solar System harbors a hidden Planet 9 beyond the orbit of Neptune, according to professor of planetary astronomy at the California Institute of Technology Mike Brown, if Nibiru were on the elongated orbit described by fans, we would have seen it by now. But more importantly, it wouldn't have been there long.


"If the planet had the orbit that is ascribed to it, it would only last for about a million years before it came too close to Jupiter and got ejected out of the solar system," he wrote on his website.

If that isn't enough for you, it is worth noting that the origin of the Nibiru world-ending conspiracy is Nancy Lieder, who calls herself a psychic and started conspiracy theory website Zetatalk, where she covers such topics as "how visitors from other Worlds are watched by the Council of Worlds" and "why aliens can disappear and move through walls".

Which might be fun if you're into that sort of thing, but let's just say we wouldn't be going to Lieder for any planetary astronomy updates.


spaceSpace and Physics
  • tag
  • apocalypse,

  • doomsday,

  • end of the world,

  • conspiracies,

  • nibiru