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KRONOS Vol IX, No. 3
"DEUS EX MACHINA" REDUX AND PLANET X UPDATE
To the Editor of KRONOS:
Ray Vaughan composed a very thoughtful rebuttal to my comments on his highly speculative Planet X scenario (KRONOS VIII:4, pp. 9496). Nonetheless, despite his logic and intellectual dexterity, he succeeded in salvaging neither the plausibility nor the credibility of his speculation. The following points are noteworthy:
One, Vaughan seems not to appreciate the ramifications of the fact that the orbit he envisions for Planet X is not the orbit deduced by astronomers from the data. Quite simply, Vaughan's Planet X on its highly eccentric 3,500 year (or 2,800 year) orbit would not produce the same time pattern of residuals for Neptune and Uranus as has been observed. As I pointed out originally, the residuals can be explained as the result of perturbations from a two to five Earth-mass body on a less eccentric orbit currently between 50 and 100 AU from the Sun (implying a period between 253 and 524 modern years on the basis of perihelion at 30 AU).
To put the matter another way, one hundred years ago Vaughan's Planet X would have been too far away to cause the perturbations that occurred then. The figure below shows schematically the two orbits conjectured for Planet X compared to Neptune's orbit. The arrows indicate the movement over the past 100 years. Perihelion for the most eccentric orbit is 6 AU. The diagram shows that the motion of Planet X over the past 100 years relative to the solar system is distinctly different for the two cases.
Furthermore, the "large-scale electric or magnetic fields" to which Vaughan alludes are ad hoc speculations whose plausibility has not even been ascertained by a back-of-the-envelope calculations.
FIGURE: Schematic comparing the orbits of two alternatives for planet X (X and V) with the orbit of Neptune. Arrows indicate motion over the past 100 years.
Two, as Vaughan envisages the scenario, the solar system might once have had another body on a cometary orbit with a period between 17 and 62 modern years.* The size of this body (two to five Earth masses) guarantees that close to perihelion it would have rivaled, if not exceeded, Venus in brilliance. However, no description of such a cometary body is known to have been bequeathed to us by the ancients. Only Venus as Inanna so survives.
[* Vaughan's reasoning at this point is quite adroit, but irrelevant nonetheless. My comments did not include bodies on such large orbits because the examples I presented were based on a suggestion in Rose and Vaughan's "Velikovsky and the Sequence of Planetary Orbits" in Pensee IVR VIII, reprinted in Velikovsky Reconsidered. Their deus ex machina was posited as having a semimajor axis of up to 3 AU, implying a period of only up to about 5 modern years.]
Three, the last near collision would necessarily have been between Mars (about 1/9 the mass of Earth) and a body between 18 and 45 times more massive. That such an encounter would leave little Mars behind with its two tiny trabants is a prospect that boggles the imagination. This also means that the minimum period for Planet X would be about 2,700 years instead of 3,500 years as Vaughan discusses. This consideration may explain why his Table I (p. 90) shows an orbital period of 2,828 years, but no 3,500 years.
Four, the orbit of Planet X being inclined about 17deg to the ecliptic undermines the essence of Vaughan's scenario. Such an inclination practically guarantees that it would not "have been in about the right place at the right time". Velikovsky's scenario was lent credence by the orbits all being close to the ecliptic during the epoch of near collisions. This is a significant difference that works against any "very likely" participation by Planet X "in some of the events described by Velikovsky".
Five, Vaughan allows that Planet X might have been perturbed "significantly on its way outward from perihelion" by Jupiter or Saturn. This is unlikely in the extreme because the inclination places Planet X beyond Jupiter's and Saturn's spheres of influence when it passes over their orbits. This, of course, assumes that the inclination existed before crossing the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn.
The foregoing factors not only guarantee that "the probability that Planet X is actually on such an orbit [is] very low", it is vanishingly small on the basis of the first point alone. As a forced hypothesis with no credible basis in fact, Vaughan's speculative scenario does nothing meaningful to help further our understanding of the recent history of the solar system. This assessment is not an arguable matter of opinion. Upon examination of the facts that are known now, and contrary to what Vaughan would have us believe, his scenario is emphatically not "possible in view of the available evidence".
* * *
Is it possible that the publicity for Planet X being a dark star is based on any credible evidence? A recent article prompted me to check into this question.
When Pioneer 10 crossed the orbit of Neptune, leaving the known solar system, an article in Aviation Week & Space Technology (June 20, 1983, pp. 2123) listed the three missions remaining for the Pioneer probes: (1) "discover the boundary of the heliosphere . . . and what happens when the solar wind interacts with the interstellar medium," (2) "search for a 10th planet, or 'dark star'," and (3) "search for gravitational radiation, the existence of which was predicted by the theory of relativity".
The presence of a Planet X, according to the article, is "suggested by irregularities in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune". A Pioneer principal investigator, John Anderson of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was quoted to the effect that "there is no evidence yet of a trans-Neptunian planet, but additional analysis is required before the presence of a star is ruled out". Since this comment is at odds with (1) the evidence presented by the gravity gradient (relative perturbations on Neptune and Uranus) and (2) the dearth of "new" comets with hyperbolic orbits (with planetary perturbations compensated), the writer asked Anderson why additional analysis is required before the presence of a star is ruled out (Letter, July 16, 1983). References in the professional journals about the search for Planet X were also requested.
Anderson's reply of July 20 hardly clarified matters. The two points above "are thoughtful and certainly of importance to the subject at hand. However, from a purely observational point of view, they do not rule out the possibility of a companion. It is true that the discovery of a companion star would have to be reconciled with the current distribution of comets and cometary orbits, but that is not an impossibility." He also allowed that he found no contradiction between the existence of a "solar companion" and "the astrometric data on Uranus and Neptune".
The article Anderson recommended was "A Proposed Search of the Solar Neighborhood for Substellar Objects" by R. T. Reynolds, J. C. Tarter and R. G. Walker in Icarus 44 (1980), pp. 772-779. Neither this article nor any of those in its bibliography presents evidence for the existence of a solar companion, stellar or otherwise. Their emphasis is on what technical capabilities are required to detect various classes of objects, without any concern for the likelihood of anything really being there; but if there is, NASA will find it.
Since Anderson's reply was so enigmatic, a second letter on July 26 again sought clarification. His August 1 reply frustrated this goal since he indicated he was indifferent among the three alternatives presented him for the cause of the unmodelled force on the outer planets, namely, a body greater than five Earths, a body five Earths or less, or a distributed mass.
It would appear that interest in finding a dark star is nothing more than a publicity gimmick.
* * *
Since the hubbub in June 1982, two new explanations for the unmodelled force on the outer planets have appeared, neither of which looks credible.
At a September 1982 conference, John P. Bagby of Hughes Corp. proposed a distributed system in which up to about half a solar mass, perhaps 100 AU from the Sun, resides in a central body together with significant portions occupying several stable Lagrange points. Bagby's model was described briefly in Science Frontiers No. 25 (Jan-Feb 1983) and celebrated uncritically by F. B. Jueneman in Ind. Res. & Dev. (June 1983), p. 17.
Bagby's idea, to borrow a phrase from Carl Sagan, does not survive close scrutiny. As above, the gravity gradient and the dearth of "new" comets having hyperbolic orbits do not support such a massive and relatively compact distributed system.
It might be suggested that the uncertainty in the mass of Neptune permits Bagby's model a modicum of feasibility. Such a notion is grasping at straws because the standard deviation of the distribution of estimates of Neptune's mass is only about 1% of the mean. While significant, this uncertainty is not so large that half a solar mass can be concealed in the perturbation data.
A second distributed mass model has been advanced by M. E. Bailey of the University of Sussex in Nature 302 (31 March 1983), pp. 399-400. Bailey proposes that the Oort cloud possesses a dense inner core with an inner radius of perhaps 50 to 100 AU, somewhat flattened near the plane of the planets. Bailey notes that others have shown that up to 10^-2 the mass of the Sun as comets in a shell "could exist in this region, yet remain undetected by present observations". The gravitational attraction within a shell of uniform thickness, of course, vanishes; but this would not be the case with Bailey's symmetrical shell, thickened at the equator.
Whether or not the perturbations on the outer planets can be explained by Bailey's cometary shell remains to be seen. However, the prospect does not seem likely to the extent that the effect of Bailey's thickened shell can be approximated by a ring mass. U. S. Naval Observatory analysis has excluded the latter as a possibility because a ring produces the wrong type of signature in the perturbations. This result is related to USNO's determination that the disturbing force is not in the plane of the planets.
The foregoing shows that while much speculation regarding Planet X is possible little of it is justified by the evidence. That a terrestrial-sized body has not been found to date does not necessarily warrant a search for a dark star because the part of the sky where Planet X is likely located has not been examined carefully enough to find it were it there. If and when Planet X is found, it will most likely be the two to five Earth-mass object predicted by USNO.
C. Leroy Ellenberger
St. Louis, MO
Author's Note added in proof:
My comments in KRONOS VIII:4 indicated that the Infrared Astronomy Satellite (IRAS) would be able to spot Planet X. I also surmised that the search for Planet X was being manipulated for extra-scientific purposes. The IRAS project seems to provide additional evidence of manipulation.
IRAS results were presented at a widely-heralded NASA press conference in Washington, D. C. on November 9, 1983 with simultaneous presentations in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. A TV news announcement of this event a week before included Planet X among the coming revelations. In the event, no mention of Planet X appeared in newspaper accounts (e.g., New York Times, p. 14, and Washington Post, pp. A1, A13, for November 10, 1983) which seemed peculiar.
This absence was clarified a week later when the 10 November New Scientist arrived with the startling article "Has IRAS found a tenth planet?" (p. 400). "Astronomers . . . are wondering what to make of reports that American analysis of data sent back by IRAS . . . has revealed a tenth planet beyond Pluto. Does the evidence stand up or . . . is it all a bid to wring more money out of NASA for a new infrared space laboratory. . . . The latest controversy surrounds an object discovered by IRAS in the constellation Sagittarius. The object's infrared emission shows that it has a temperature of around 230deg K . This is too cool for a star yet to [sic] hot for a dust cloud. It could be a distant gaseous planet, several times heavier than Jupiter. . . . Whatever it is . . . the Americans have been keeping very quiet about it in recent weeks." As if to support the suggestion, such a temperature is warmer than Jupiter's cloud tops.
Evidently the New Scientist article was written before the press conference because the issue closed before it was held. Most other articles on IRAS following the newspaper accounts were devoid of reference to Planet X (e.g.: Aviation Week & Space Technology, November 14, pp. 27-28; Nature, 17 November, p. 218; and Science, 25 November, pp. 916-17). The report in the November 19 Science News, pp. 324-5, was an exception, pointing out that, "contrary to rumors", no sign of Planet X has been found yet, but "if it's there . . . it's in [the] data".
If the "rumors" bear out and the evidence stands up, it appears IRAS has at least one more discovery to announce officially, that of Planet X. When this happens, it will be interesting to see how its estimated mass and location compare with the USNO prediction cited above. This is left for the interested reader to follow-up.
Raymond C. Vaughan Replies:
Not much more can or need be said about Planet X. Leroy Ellenberger and I are so close to agreement on the central issue that it seems silly to continue. As I have indicated from the outset, I consider it very unlikely that Planet X has the type of Velikovskian orbit outlined in my original letter. Ellenberger goes one step further and considers it impossible. His position is based mainly on unpublished work by Van Flandern et al at the U. S. Naval Observatory. Without meaning to detract from the accomplishments and abilities of Van Flandern and his colleagues, I would simply point out that their Planet X work involves the interpretation of data, which is inherently a risky business. Unrecognized variables and misleading conceptual frameworks, for example, cannot be ruled out. While such problems are less likely in celestial mechanics than in a field such as cancer research, I still cannot go along with Ellenberger in putting complete confidence in the inference from Van Flandern et al that "a less eccentric orbit" is required than those I originally outlined. The probability that Van Flandern et al are right is indeed very high; 99% seems a realistic estimate, but 100% does not.
FURTHER SPECULATIONS ON PLANET "X"
Copyright 1984 by John P. Bagby
To the Editor of KRONOS:
Recently, correspondence appeared in KRONOS (1,2,3) discussing aspects of various speculations on the existence of either a Planet X or a binary (stellar) companion to the Sun. Although I have avoided expressing my opinion in popular mediums, F. B. Jueneman has pressured me to attempt to shed some further light on this debate and to address certain dichotomies in arguments presented so far. Certainly, many of the other serious participants in the "Tenth Planet Syndrome" ("TPS", Ref. 4) have often resorted to very popular commentaries on occasion. These have sometimes included flawed data(5) or even no real data at all.(6) Instead, promises are made as to the reliable existence of such-and-such an object, but the orbit is only partially specified with no elements firm enough to permit either a search or even theoretical verification by interested persons. One then waits in vain for any follow-on definitive results. Instead, we are treated to more of the same generalities(7) as the years go by.
In this short note, I will attempt to summarize, discuss, and reference some of the more specific and solid results which have either been presented at scientific meetings or in the scientific literature. Interestingly enough, serious work by many well known TPS(4) participants will either be conspicuously missing from the reference list or in short supply.(8,9) This could be due, in part, to incompleteness in literature searches by myself and others. However, even attempts at correspondence with some of the various groups involved has not resulted in finding anything else of significance. It is perhaps a paradox of our times, what with the increased wide-spread interest in scientific endeavors being accompanied by a distain for the accepted, classical methods of presentation and review.(10) Perhaps some of this unorthodox activity is felt to be justified in light of the occasional highly structured and competitive methods used to accept, evaluate, or even to honor the supposed discoverers.(11)
CHRONOLOGY AND DISCUSSION
The most widely published scientist working on the Pluto prediction problem was Wm. H. Pickering, and not P. Lowell. The actual position of Pluto lay within 1 degree 15' of his prediction and only with >5 degrees of Lowell's.(12) For reference, J. C. Adams' pre-discovery prediction of Neptune's longitude was within 2 degrees 27', while U. J. Leverrier's was within 0 degrees 52'. Surprisingly, Pluto's orbit was still being estimated over a wide range of values for some time after its discovery,(13) Pickering was also the widely published author of speculation and positional information regarding a planet beyond Pluto as well.(12,14,15) (See Table I for some of his work.) In fact, he felt there might be more than one extra planet, and even a massive satellite of Saturn yet to be discovered. He computed some candidate orbits which are, even today, much more complete than some of the popular ones referred to earlier.(5,6,7)
[*!* Image] TABLE I. PARAMETERS FOR A 10th/sup> PLANET BEYOND PLUTO, OR A MASSIVE STELLAR COMPANION TO THE SUN, BY VARIOUS AUTHORS.
From References (8, 9, 18, 22) and a Literature Search by the Author.
Only P. K. Seidelmann(16) and the writer seem to have dignified Pickering's work in recent times. Seidelmann, however, puts him down for his high mass estimates as being ridiculous from an observational point of view,(16) then substitutes a new mass value that seems more likely to him (but retaining Pickering's other parameters), and proceeds to criticize all outer planet error budgets which result. He concludes there is little to be gained from Pickering's work on planet suspects "S", "P", or ' "P" ', the one of his own construction. He does not discuss "T" at all.(17)
However, I have found that many of Pickering's orbital parameters do fit in a most remarkable manner into regions of tables and plots which I've prepared independently.(9,18-20) Pickering's work was first called to my attention by a casual reading of Seidelmann's paper in mid 1981.(9,16) To my surprise, Seidelmann did not reference Pickering properly, so that a rigorous search of various references was necessary in order to find what Pickering had actually written.(9,12,14-16)
Thus, only Seidelmann's reference to Pickering's work was available to me at the time of the September 11, 1981 meeting at Palo Alto.(9) In one case, I felt Pickering had too high a value for inclination ("P"). In another ("S"), I felt he also had too small an orbit. Pickering's own mass estimates varied from between 2.0 to 0.5 Earth masses for Pluto (Lowell's was 7.5), all the way up to 49.6 for planet "P". He felt "S" might be 2 to 10 times Pluto's mass, whatever that turned out to be. Pickering, like E. Halley and the writer,(21,22) employed a mostly graphical solution in his orbital derivations. He rejected the concept of a nearby, small dark star.(14,15,22)
J. L. Brady was the next entrant in the TPS,(4) as far as I can tell. His work was first reported on with excitement and enthusiasm in one of the conservative journals of the day (23) and then rejected on both observational and theoretical grounds.(24) He employed Halley's comet residuals to generate the elements for a tenth planet. Brady also published his own scientific paper(25) and has continued to study various comet residuals.(26) His mass estimate came out at three Saturn masses, and his orbit is also given in Table I.
Following the work of Brady, and the immediate comments on it by others, D. Rawlins and M. Hammerton addressed the subject of a tenth planet from considerations of perturbations of Neptune and Uranus.(22,27) They concluded that a family of solutions existed, and gave several possible combinations of mass and elements for its orbit.(27) Their results are included in Table I, as well,(22)
My own work began in 1975, when I suspected such a body might be involved in certain peculiar perturbations in Earth satellites,(21,24,28) the overall (long period) variability in solar sunspot cycle periodicities, (22,29) the encouragement of earthquake and volcano triggering,(22,24,28,30) and (later on) with certain solar system resonances.(31) However, I ended up with not just a 180 degree ambiguity, but a 90 degree one as well.(22) Then, in 1977, when E. R. Harrison published his work on pulsar period time derivatives (postulating a massive nearby object as the cause for their discrepancies),(32) a general direction to such a body was defined and a mass divided by distance squared relationship was derived. This decided for me which of the quadrature directions that my work suggested was the correct one.(22)
This resulted in the derivation of two cases of possible orbits for a "Massive Stellar Companion", or MSC: (22,30,33) Case A, with the Sun a satellite of a very massive and distant companion; and Case B, with the Sun having a much less massive satellite as a companion. Table II gives the elements for typical orbits within the Case A boundary conditions, and Tables I and III give those parameters for orbits within the Case B boundary conditions. In Table I and Table II, work by the writer between July 1978 and March 1981 on the TPS is included. Work since March 1981 is found in Table III. For a number of reasons,(22,30) the Case B solutions appear to be the most likely.
All of my orbit derivations, from several sources of geophysical anomalies and solar system periodicities, are fully described in conference proceedings and published reports(8,9,21,22,24,33) available from the Library of Congress or at cost from the writer. All of my mass estimates, however, are derived from Harrison's presumption regarding the cause of the pulsar period derivatives. If Harrison is in error in his equation for M/d2/sup>, then the elements change ever so slightly for Table III cases, but more drastically for Table II cases. This is because P2/sup>(M + m) / a3/sup> = k, and because Case A orbits depend so heavily on Harrison's scenario. Disregard of this relationship caused some embarrassment to one popular team of the TPS participants.(5,34)
My other elements were derived independent of mass, in marked contrast to the elements of Pickering, Rawlins and Hammerton, Brady, and presumably those attributed (without explanation) to personnel at the U. S. Naval Observatory, NASA Ames, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and Palomar Mountain Observatory. Rather, my own derivations concentrate on the unique values of true position (true anomaly) needed, in order to cause the required alignment circumstances for being involved in the geophysical and solar system anomalies I presume to be caused, in part, by such a body.(22,29,30,33) Even so, the positional and mass estimates of Rawlins and Hammerton(27) have been shown to extrapolate readily to typical values found in Tables I and III, at the greater distances involved therein (see Figure 9 in Reference No. 22).
After the 1978 presentation, a search was made for objects possibly orbiting the MSC.(30,33) This was done in the infrared, using catalogues generated by NASA and AFGL funding.(8,30,33) The search generated some fourteen likely suspects near the position proposed for the MSC in all Case B solutions: R.A. 20h 00m, Dec. -22 degrees. Their black body curves and sidereal motions were eventually determined more rigorously from the several epochs and wavelengths involved in the infrared observations.(8,33) The centroid of these "planets" lies near R.A. 19h 50m, Dec. - 13 degrees. The orbital inclination in Table III is dependent on these infrared observations being real, as is the node value.
In the 1978 paper presented at St. Louis,(22) it was shown how Pluto had occupied a position of ~1/3 the distance and at ~180 degrees opposite to the MSC at the time of Lowell's and Pickering's pre-discovery prediction work.
TABLE II. CAE A. THE COMPANION AS THE PRIMARY BODY IN A BINARY SOLAR SYSTEM. Representative possible orbital parameters, based on observational evidence and theoretical considerations. For all of these orbits the ascending node is at 126 degrees longitude and the inclination is 12 degrees, both with respect to the earth's ecliptic. Tolerances on all values roughly + and -5 units in the third place.
From References (8, 9). The best fitting orbits to all data (Figures 4-7 in Reference (8)) are: 16 and 9 in the Main Sequence, J in the Secondary Sequence, as far as an individual MSC is concerned. The best fitting orbits to the LaGrange Point data for distributed mass solutions are: 9J and 9E. In these cases, Column No. 11 gives the total estimated mass of all objects, and Table IV lists the masses of the various components.
It was pointed out then how this coincidence could involve a "direction finding and distance ambiguity" in their work, similar to that of classical radio direction finding (22)
Subsequent to the late 1978 discovery of infrared evidence of satellites of the MSC, L. L. Bagby suggested that the total mass of the MSC might be distributed: (a) amongst the infrared satellites found near it, or (b) amongst the several possible LaGrange points, especially L3 opposite to the MSC which might lie in Pluto's direction at the 1920-1930 epoch. Such a distribution of the mass might account for the long delay in definitive published results by the several groups who have been working from Neptune-Pluto-Uranus residual errors alone (7,9)
Following the 1981 presentation,(8) a search was made along the orbit plane, using the infrared data, to see if any companion objects in the same orbit could be found. If so, then perhaps a decision as to the proper eccentricity and semimajor axis would follow. Some suspects were found, near: R.A. 13h 30m, Dec. -28 degrees; R.A. 03h 20m, Dec. +30 degrees; and R.A. 09h 30m, Dec. 0.0 degrees.(18,19) Suspecting these could be objects at or near LaGrange points in the MSC's orbit, unique solutions were derived with this assumption.(9) These are given at the bottom of Table III. These further solutions depend on infrared evidence not yet subjected to the rigorous treatment afforded the earlier observations in the 1981 report.
However, when a suggestion by Jueneman regarding the possible influence of the MSC on the distribution of comet perihelia epochs was received,(35) the orbital data on 150 very-long-period comets(9,20,36) were critically examined. It was found that their longitudes of perihelia clustered about these LaGrange point longitudes and about that proposed for the MSC itself, as in Figure la. (9,20) Further, when P. R. Backus(37) supplied up-to-date data on pulsars having peculiar period derivatives that were not available to Harrison in 1977,(22,32) there was found a similar clustering in Right Ascension to that of the LaGrange points and MSC positions suggested by the infrared observations,(9,20) as in Figure lb.
If the asymmetric distributions of both comet perihelia longitudes and pulsars having peculiar period derivatives were due to the MSC and its distributed mass components at La Grange points, then these data should indicate the best fitting common orbit. This is because the comet and pulsar data cover mean epochs far enough apart in time to allow for estimates of individual mean motions of the various mass clumps. The resulting distances, at the various celestial longitudes, would define a size and ellipticity to such a common orbit. This has been interpreted for cometary data alone, by dividing those data into equal groups in mean epoch.(9,20) In the legend of Figure I, it has been done again, using all cometary data and all pulsar data. The resulting best orbit lies in between that of 9J and 9E in Tables III and IV.
Just prior to the 1982 conference at Palo Alto, B. A. Fluegeman suggested that I study planetary perturbations independently of the USNO and the JPL-Palomar Mountain groups. I found that every outer planet all the way in to at least Mars, was so perturbed by some as yet unmodeled cause that their orbits needed to be recomputed every ten years.(9) Searching for the unique position of a MSC to cause the specific errors in Right Ascension, Declination, and range observed, I found that only a distributed mass for the MSC (as earlier suggested by L. L. Bagby) could account for these particular combinations of errors. The LaGrange points indeed had to contain a portion of the MSC mass to be accountable for these accumulated errors in planet positions. In order for Harrison's mass estimates to hold, the distribution of the MSC total mass had to sum, vectorally to his values as well. This rendered some very specific mass estimates for the components of the solutions 9S, 9J, and 9E.(9) These are given in Table IV.
[*!* Image] TABLE IV. DESIGNATION OF LaGRANGE POINT NOMENCLATURE AND RELATIVE AND ABSOLUTE MASSES OF EACH LaGRANGE POINT REGION.
[*!* Image] FIGURE 1. A comparison of cometary and pulsar data, as described in the text, showing their relationship to the longitudes of the MSC and its various distributed mass portions at LaGrange points. These data suggest that the best fitting orbit lies between that of 9J and 9E in Tables III and IV. The elements would be: a=97.5 to 105 au, e=0.436 to 0.619 (perifocus = 55 to 40 au), [pi]= 148 to 153 degrees, period= 958 to 1067 years. LABELS: VLP COMET PERIHELIA 1980-1976 (AFTER VAN FLANDERN AND MARSDEN); M.S.C. 1970; PULSAR TIME DERIVATIVE DATA (AFTER BACKUS NOV 12, 1982); COMET FREQUENCY; ECLIPTIC LONGITUDE, DEGREES (COMETS); PULSAR FREQUENCY.
These surprising mass values add up to a total of 0.50 solar masses for the components of orbit 9S, 0.052 solar masses for the components of orbit 9J, and 0.061 solar masses for the components of orbit 9E.(9) Only their (present) distribution around the orbit prevents more serious solar system disturbances. In the case of orbit 9S, for example, the current vector sum of the arising forces lies at the direction of the MSC itself (plus LaGrange points L1 and L2 ), as far as the Sun and Earth are concerned. When, some 850 years hence, the MSC and L4 plus L5 are clustered around aphelion, their combined effect still would exceed that of L3, even though the latter would be near perihelion, with respect to the Sun and the Earth.
This marriage between the various means available for suggesting the existence and orbit of a tenth planet or MSC is exciting. It would also account for the apparent requirement for a larger mass for the MSC itself, as derived from dynamic considerations with regard to the orbital motion of the 14 close satellites around it (Ref. 8, p. 403 - 1st paragraph and p. 404-last paragraph).
Recently, new evidence suggests further possibilities. One of these is infrared data supporting some very-long-period solar system satellites (20 to 60,000 years).(18) Another is the existence of a massive dark companion (MDC) for either the MSC or the planet Neptune, which accounts for the driver force in the planetary theory of sunspots.(29,38) The tentative orbital elements of these additional bodies are given in Table V. It is even possible that some of the perturbations of the outer planets ascribable to a tenth planet are really due to this suspected "moon" of Neptune or "planet" of the MSC.
Instead of specific comments on the papers by R. C. Vaughan and C. L. Ellenberger, I have chosen to supply information of a more general nature with regard to the TPS. This information does, in fact, speak to and answer most of the questions and points of order raised by their earlier letters.
John P. Bagby
Editorial Postscript (FBJ):
For some years John P. Bagby has reviewed earthbased data of anomalies surrounding our solar system, with respect to infrared sources, perturbation phenomena on the outer planets, and unexplained changes in pulsar frequencies. His conclusions, admittedly speculative, were that a primary body of perhaps 0.03 to 0.06 solar mass orbits the Sun and is presently in the direction of Sagittarius, that additional mass concentrations totalling between 0.05 and 0.5 solar mass are distributed in this orbit which is inclined to the plane of the ecliptic, and that this orbit is approximately 100 AU (9.3 billion miles) distance from the Sun. The key to the direction, mass, and distance was afforded by E. R. Harrison's work on pulsar frequency derivatives, which indicated that changes in a pulsar period (including red-shifting) were due to a nearby line-of-sight gravitational body of some magnitude. The distribution of such pulsar anomalies across the sky is unique in that they describe the most likely orbit for the multiple-body mass distribution suggested by Bagby.
In 1978 Bagby dared to suggest that a much more massive body than the Sun could be a solar companion (reproduced here in Table II ). By a simple extension of the data, such a body would indeed be comparable to Nemesis, the so-called "death star", postulated as having a 26 million-year-period and causing the periodic decimations of life forms on Earth such as that which occurred at the end of the Mesozoic. However, contrary to conventional wisdom, Bagby's data also indicate that such a body would be approaching periapsis, or closest proximity, to the solar system. Further, there is a question of whether this body is a single, dark object or a cluster of small stars inclined at 12 degrees to the ecliptic, around which our own solar system would be orbiting in a highly eccentric path, as depicted in Bagby's Case A. Moreover, if both Case A and Case B pertain, then our solar system is but part of a rather complex ternary stellar group with orbital periods measured in thousands of years as well as millions of years. And, in what may be a most significant consideration, an extension of this scenario would indicate an hypothetical exchange of planets between such systems at closest approach, with the promise of at least a radical disruption of planetary positions within each separate system!
Preliminary IRAS data appear to confirm Bagby's painstaking analysis, which if corroborated would put him the company of Adams, Leverrier, Herschel, and Pickering. As the French theoretidan Pierre Simon de Laplace (1749-1827) said: "He alone discovers who proves."
[*!* Image] TABLE V. ORBITAL PARAMETERS FOR ADDITIONAL SOLAR SYSTEM BODIES. From References (18, 38).
1. R. C. Vaughan, "Speculations on 'Planet X' ", KRONOS VIII:4 (1983), pp. 88-90.