I have seen lots of YouTube videos taking about Nibiru. They say, that Nibiru is approaching towards earth. Few of the videos claim that space maps (Google) hide Nibiru with a black patch. Few years back, I surfed Google Earth and other space map websites in which they actually hide some objects with a black patch. I am sure those were not Nibiru because there were nearly 2 to 3 which I checked with my own efforts.

Is Nibiru real or fiction?

  • 59
    $\begingroup$ To call Nibiru science fiction insults both science and fiction. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jul 22, 2018 at 16:21
  • 12
    $\begingroup$ @Ooker I concur with jamesqf - my explanation would be: To be linked to "science", a subject would require application of scientific examination and reasoning; to be linked to "fiction", at least some aesthetic properties (as in e.g. telling an elaborated, compelling story) would be required. The N. "story" lacks both. $\endgroup$
    – jvb
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 10:11
  • 11
    $\begingroup$ All my life Nbiru has been on course to hit or pass close to earth, if it was that visible 50 years ago that they had to cover it up, then it must be either incredibly slow or incredibly tardy. Either that or it fills half the night sky and the ISS is holding up a gigantic tarp with a starfield on it $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 13:09
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ websites in which they actually hide some objects with a black patch Or just areas that are not mapped? Be careful with what you claim (add evidence). $\endgroup$
    – user10509
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 14:03
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Ooker: I doubt that I can explain, at least any better than the existing answers. It's an insult to science because if it indeed existed, it would be easily detected, since with current telescopes it's possible to detect a body ~30 km in diameter at well beyond the orbit of Pluto. (New Horizons next target: 2014 MU69 ) And as fiction it lacks any sort of discernable plot, characterization, narrative imperative, &c. If I might paraphrase Pauli, it's not even stupid. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 3:37

4 Answers 4


Nibiru is fiction.

Nibiru, a purported large object headed toward Earth, simply put - does not exist. There is no credible evidence - telescopic or otherwise - for this object's existence. There is also no evidence of any kind for its gravitational effects upon bodies in our solar system.

The nice thing about astronomy is that everyone can do it. You don't have to rely on Google or anyone else, you can just put a telescope in your backyard and start searching the heavens (or specifically, aim it at those black patches you found in a star map).
A telescope with a camera attached (and a computer to analyze the images) is all you need to start hunting Earth-crossing objects. We've found 600,000 asteroids using this method:

"NASA is confident that it has discovered and cataloged all near-Earth asteroids large enough to cause significant global damage and determined that they are not on collision courses with Earth," the report says, while noting that this does not necessarily include faint comets on the outer reaches of the solar system. (The report does not address the odds of such a comet impacting Earth.) NASA officials also said today they believe they have found 95 percent of near-Earth asteroids more than a kilometer wide.

Any planet closer to us than Pluto would have been found multiple times by now. This chart gives a good overview of which objects in the solar system we can see with current technology.

The tiny corner at the top right contains the only objects in the solar system we haven't discovered yet because they are a combination of too small and too far away to detect for now.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Please keep in mind you cannot hope to see everything with an off-the-shelf telescope and camera. That would be naive. Perhaps the object only emits/reflects light of specific wavelengths, or it is hidden "next to" a source of brightness. Everyone can also do particle physics, you just wont get quite the results you get with a big accelerator. $\endgroup$
    – rubenvb
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 10:17
  • 21
    $\begingroup$ Planet-sized objects inside Saturn's orbit are visible with the naked eye. Amateurs routinely find asteroids only a few tens of km across. Objects cannot be permanently hidden behind/next to other objects due to orbital mechanics. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 11:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ While Nibiru is bogus, a more complete answer could mention more credible candidates like Nemesis Star Theory: The Sun's 'Death Star' Companion (Richard A. Muller) and Planet Nine (that, if they exist, may affect cometary orbits, and have longer-term effects). $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Hobbes I don't think Nibiru is real but I question your statement Any planet closer to us than Pluto would have been found multiple times by now.. Would we really have found it? We've just added 12 moons to the Jupiter system. I know it is not the same size but it still makes me wonder. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 13:13
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ Look up how small those Jupiter moons are. I'm not saying 'any object closer than Pluto...' but anything large enough to be called a planet, yeah. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 14:10

The name Nibiru does appear in science fiction.

However, the stuff to which you refer is not science fiction. It's just baloney, malarkey, or "fake news."

According to Wikipedia's article Nibiru cataclysm about the phony story, science ficition has made some oblique references to it:

A viral marketing campaign for Sony Pictures' 2009 film 2012, directed by Roland Emmerich, which depicts the end of the world in the year 2012, featured a supposed warning from the "Institute for Human Continuity" that listed the arrival of Planet X as one of its doomsday scenarios. Mike Brown attributed a spike in concerned emails and phone calls he received from the public to this site. Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier drew inspiration from Nibiru for his 2011 apocalyptic film Melancholia. It also was said to made a cameo appearance in the 2013 film Star Trek Into Darkness, where it is a volcanic planet.

See also Space.com's article 'Doomsday Planet' Nibiru Has Cameo in 'Star Trek Into Darkness'.

You can read more about references in the Star Trek Into Darkness film in this SciFi SE answer and in this SciFi SE question.

However, the much wider and noisier references to "Nibiru" in YouTube and various websites is not science fiction. It is baloney, purported to be truth, and thus "fake news" as it poisons the well of the public's understanding and is meant to generate both clicks and confusion.

The difference between real science fiction and "fake news" is day and night, and so the other answers have also elected to find better terms for this nonsense than "science fiction".

  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean science fiction is meant to entertain, while fake news is meant to elicit fear? $\endgroup$
    – Ooker
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 2:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Ooker People write SF for reasons including their own enjoyment, and to make a living. It might elicit fear as well from time to time, but that's okay. People publish false and misleading information for many diverse reasons. In my answer, I have listed "clicks and confusion" as two examples, but there can be many more, but that's beyond the scope of this SE site. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 2:55
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ @Ooker - "Fake news" is rightly classed as propaganda, which Nibiru isn't. Nibiru hysteria started with a woman who claimed to be receiving telepathic communications from aliens (having read some of her stuff, she was either schizophrenic or faking it really, really well). This got picked up by some less-than-scrupulous authors who made a quick buck by writing some truly awful books about it, at which point it percolated into the general conspiracy paranoia zeitgeist. $\endgroup$
    – John Bode
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 14:33
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @JohnBode Fake news is simply news that's fake. It doesn't have to be propaganda. And there are propaganda elements to this story (the government is conspiring against us). $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 14:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The propaganda element of fake news is eroding trust in government, science, and institutions by presenting it as truthful and spinning a tale of secret conspiracies. This allows people to control political debate by throwing FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) on even basic facts. When people get confused about the facts they are prone to believing their biases and demagoguery. "Trust me. I'm saying things you feel are true." The intent of the faker does not matter, it's the amplification and repetition of fake news, ironically or not, that is both propaganda and the effects of propaganda. $\endgroup$
    – Schwern
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 21:36

To resonate with @Hobbes general characterization: Nibiru is contrived nonsense.

Ignoring the fact that previously announced dates for the Earth cataclysm have come and gone with no such mayhem, some adherents to the Nibiru cataclysm theory cling to the possibility that it is planet-sized, but so far out in the solar system that we haven't seen it yet.

Nibiru adherents claim its particular orbit explains why we haven't seen it yet. But my friend and colleague Mike Brown, a Caltech professor who leads a team that has found many Kuiper Belt objects, gives multiple reasons such an orbit is unstable and the object wouldn't be around for long. Konstantin Batygin's and Mike's suggestion that there is evidence for a ninth sizeable planet in the solar system generated a lot of media attention, but this object doesn't visit the inner solar system. If it had, with its giant-planet-sized mass it would have seriously perturbed the terrestrial planets' orbits, and the inner solar system would appear very different from what we actually see.

The moral of the story is: when confronted with claims of a fantastic scenario, think critically! Is there any evidence inconsistent with the claims? Based on what we know about how the universe works (e.g., the laws of physics), if you can reliably infer observable ramifications of those claims, are observations inconsistent with those observable ramifications? If so, the burden is on them to reconcile the inconsistencies, not on you to disprove the claim. Attributed to Carl Sagan but originating much earlier in history: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." (The idea, if not the exact words, goes back at least to Pierre-Simon Laplace)

  • $\begingroup$ “What counts is not what sounds plausible, not what we’d like to believe, not what one or two witnesses claim, but only what is supported by hard evidence, rigorously and skeptically examined. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” – Carl Sagan $\endgroup$
    – Mazura
    Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 0:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Mazura Thanks for the quotation! "The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness." —Pierre-Simon Laplace, who died in 1827. The "Sagan Standard" article at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagan_standard gives a couple more examples pre-dating Sagan, one by Thomas Jefferson in 1808, and one by Marcello Truzzi in 1978. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 4:35

Is Nibiru real or fiction?

The wikipedia page on Nibiru covers most of the insanity (and I mean that literally) pretty well.

It is not real. There is no rogue planet out there waiting to cause havoc on Earth. It hasn't been there for the last 20-some-odd years that people have been talking about it.

It started in the mid-90s with a woman named Nancy Lieder who claimed to be receiving telepathic communications from a race of aliens called Zetans (so named due to being from or near Zeta Reticuli). She started a web site named ZetaTalk (not linking it because you don't want to go there) to relay these communications, and to host discussions on the fringiest of fringe theories (ancient aliens, chemtrails, and general X Files stuff).

Nancy herself only called it Planet X - others took the name Nibiru from the writings of Zecharia Sitchin, who believed Earth was visited by aliens thousands of years ago based on writings from ancient Sumer.

A member of the ZetaTalk community, Mark Hazelwood, wrote a book on Planet X/Nibiru titled Blindsided: Planet X Passes in 2003. From there it's passed into the general conspiracy theory zeitgeist, and is used by the black helicopter/"9/11 was an inside job" crowd as another talking point in the whole "the gummint is hiding things from us" discussion.

Yes, the government is hiding some (genuinely classified) things from us. Nibiru isn't one of those things. It couldn't hide Nibiru from us if it wanted to. Too many people own telescopes and watch the skies - if a rogue planet were truly making its way through the solar system to menace Earth, we'd know about it.

More importantly, we'd have known about it in 2003 when it was first predicted to appear. It got a bit of a revival as 2012 approached, which was supposed to be the end of the world based on the end of the Mayan Calendar (because everybody's car explodes when the odometer ticks back over to 000000).

Obviously, the world didn't end in in 2003 or 2012, and it's not going to end due to a rogue planet that nobody can see. But, since the best evidence of a conspiracy is a complete lack of evidence for a conspiracy, people still claim it's out there.

They are wrong.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.