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No. 90: Nov-Dec 1993

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A New Class Of Solar System Objects

For decades astronomers have suspected and searched for Planet X, a large body beyond Neptune swinging slowly about the sun and gravitationally perturbing Neptune's orbit. Planet X has never been found, but somewhere out there are some pretty hefty bodies, as described by T. Van Flandern:

"The discovery of a second miniplanet beyond Neptune, 1993 FW, augments the discovery of 1992 QB1 last fall. Both objects are believed to be in the 200-300-km-diameter range, with magnitudes between 2324, distances at discovery between 40-45 AU, and low inclinations.... Although the discoverers of these two objects hailed them as the first representatives of the elusive 'Kuiper belt' of comets, other theoreticians have confirmed that the line of reasoning leading to the suggestion of such a belt is spurious. That fact, combined with the absence of any comet-like characteristics in these two new objects, their relative size as compared with any other known comet, and their unusually red coloration, seem to make them the first-discovered members of a new class of solar system bodies. Since the searches leading to their discovery have examined only 1.5 out of tens of thousands of square degrees of sky wherein such objects might be discovered, it seems a reasonable conjecture that thousands of additional similar objects will ultimately be found. In short, it appears at this early stage that the solar system may have a second asteroid belt beyond Neptune."

(Van Flandern, T.; Meta Research Bulletin, 2:13. June 15, 1933.)

Comment. Did this new class of objects once comprise Planet X? If there are truly thousands of such bodies with diameters of 200-300 kilometers circling out there beyond Neptune, the astronomers will be hard put to account for them, and the astrologers will have to modify their calculations! What's going on here? How could astronomers completely overlook a major component of the solar system? Paradigm blinders?

An entire chapter (AX) is devoted to Planet X in our Catalog: The Sun and Solar System Debris. Ordering information here.

From Science Frontiers #90, NOV-DEC 1993. 1993-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987