The Cycle Of Extinction
If you were to look at the history of our planet from now all the way back to the earliest days of life itself, you will notice a pattern. Mainly one of extinction. Not of the whole planet obviously, but one that indicates that sometime every 27 million years or so there is a massive extinction event that ravages the planet. You likely already know of some of them, such as the meteor that crashed into the planet and killed the dinosaurs. Or maybe even The Great Oxygenation, where Earth went from having no Oxygen, to too much Oxygen thanks to bacteria, nearly killing everything on the planet as a result.
No matter which one you think of, the fact remains, these events happen, and they continually happen every 27 million years. When a pattern like this occurs, it means it’s not dumb luck or chance, right? It couldn’t be because it’s too perfect a lineup. But it also obviously can’t be something that occurs just within the confines of Earth, right? Meaning that the planet can’t be responsible for this all the time, right? Exactly.
So where does that leave us? If it’s not random, and it’s not something that is caused by the Earth, what is doing this? That would be space, or more accurately, it would be about a single entity in space that is said to influence the planet and the solar system in a way that makes it so that every 27 million years or so something bad happens to cause an extinction event. This is the theory of the Nemesis Star.
The Nemesis Star
So what exactly is a Nemesis Star? You know, outside of something that I’m sure has been the name of some at least one kind of space base or whatever in a sci-fi film. Well, to put it in simplistic terms, the Nemesis Star is the “twin” of our own sun. But while our sun does nothing to help the solar system (by keeping us in orbit around itself, giving us heat and light, etc.) the “Nemesis” star is one that is able to alter things in the solar system to cause mass extinction events on Earth. Such as the asteroid that came to kill the dinosaurs:
“The Nemesis Theory is an outgrowth of the discovery that the impact of a large comet or asteroid may have been responsible for the great mass extinction,” Douglas Vakoch, president of a nonprofit called Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence noted.
But what exactly is the star itself? It’s a theory laid out by Richard Muller of the University of California Berkley back in 1984. He stated that somewhere near our solar system is a dwarf star that has such a mass and gravity that it’s able to affect the outer reaches of the solar system and send things like asteroids in our direction.
“But is that really possible?” you might be asking, “Wouldn’t it need to be really close to do that?” Why, yes it would, and Muller speculated that Nemesis was only 1.5 light years away from us, which means that not only could it affect us, it’s possible that it goes right through the solar system without us knowing it.
“When Nemesis passes through the Oort cloud, the theory goes, it dislodges comets that in turn make their way to Earth, causing cataclysmic events,” Vakoch said.
Which begs another question…
How Have We Not Seen Another Star So Close To Us?
Given that we look up into the night sky and see a whole bunch of stars, including ones that are many light years away, it may seem odd that there is a star that is somehow nearby, is able to influence our solar system, and yet we haven’t seen it. Is such a thing really possible? Yes, yes it is, and it all boils down to the kind of star that Nemesis is rumored to be. Mainly, a white or brown dwarf star. Though to be clear there are others who think it’s another kind of dwarf star but for this one just roll with it.
The reason for this being a big believe in the Nemesis Theory is that both of these stars would be only able to cast a certain type of light. In this case, a rather dim one. The reason we see the stars at night is because they burn brightly in the vacuum of space and they are able to travel far. But, if you don’t emit much light at all, you likely wouldn’t be able to see it the more distance you travel. Like a flashlight in an open field. You see a house in the distances and you point it at it, but its light doesn’t shine on the house. It’s that kind of thing.
So given that, and given that we couldn’t see it, it’s possible that such a star exists just outside our solar system, yet is able to influence it. There’s just one really big problem with this theory…we haven’t found Nemesis yet.
Where Is Nemesis?
That is the problem with the theory for Nemesis, despite many scientists believing it is there, and even giving a plausible reason for why we can’t see it visibly in our own night sky…we haven’t found it yet. In fact, it’s so “well hidden” that the only reason we think it exists at all is because of these theories, and that is where the problem comes in, because just because something is theoretically possible, or even plausible, it doesn’t mean that it’s true. Far from it. It’s our job to prove that it can be real, yet for Nemesis…that’s a very hard thing to prove.
For example, if Nemesis really is the “evil twin” to our sun, that would mean that it would have to be in a relatively close proximity to our sun and solar system to have effects, right? As well as earn the label of twin. But, astrologers have noted many times that the closest that it could be in to have both that proximity and that timeline for causing extinction events would feature an orbit that just isn’t possible. Mainly because it wouldn’t be a stable orbit like what our planet, or even our own sun, has.
How so? Well it’s about positioning, mainly in how the planets and stars move around in the galaxies they’re in. For Nemesis, given its size and gravity output, it would go to reason that in the orbit it would “need” to be in to do what it wants to do to Earth would put it in line with other stars and even other planets in the grander galaxy. Meaning…that it would be caught in their gravity and thus be pulled away from our system.
So it might just be that when it comes to Nemesis it MAY have been around a long time ago, but it’s likely not where people think it is right now, which is a big problem for the Nemesis Theory. Though not the only one…
The Holes In the Extinction Theory
If it was just about the seeing of Nemesis then the Nemesis Theory would still be ok. After all, seeing may be believing, but just because you don’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there, right? But, that’s only the first fall in this theory poking, because the other problem is that other scientists don’t think the Earth is on a cycle of extinction.
To refresh, many scientists believe that there are extinction events around every 27 million years and they are caused by impacts of asteroids and other things. The problem with that is many fold. First, this is based on estimations based on when we THINK the extinction events happen. Also though, many people have studied the impacts of craters that were supposed to be part of these extinction level events and yet they don’t line up with the timeline. So if the timeline is wrong, then the whole theory is basically out the window.
“I would agree with most of what he says, but I think he is overestimating the accuracy of the geologic timescale,” one scientist notes: “You get them in the right order, but it’s really difficult to get an actual date.”
What’s more, there is a problem in saying that there are only extinction level events caused by asteroids. As that’s not the case all the time. I’ve already outlined one for you via the Great Oxygenation. That wasn’t caused by outside interference, that was caused by the evolution of a species that started to breath out oxygenation.
There have also been other extinction level events that were caused by natural rises and falls in temperature on the planet. Not outside interference required.
Yes, the Earth has had a LOT of bad things happen to it, and it’s possible, and even likely, that another such event could head our way in the next 27 million years or so. But that doesn’t mean that a star is causing all of this destruction.
What Proof Is There That Nemesis Is Real?
So given all the holes that are in the Nemesis Theory as well as the cycle of extinction, you almost have to wonder what exactly do they base all this on to say that there is such a star out there? Well, there are a few oddities that can’t be explained in the nearby reaches of space, and one of them is a planet known as Sedna.
What’s so special about this planet? That would be that Sedna has an orbit of about 12,000 years. Yeah, that’s a long time for a single year, not exactly a place that we want to live. But the reason that Nemesis is tied to this star is that it’s believed to be the true star that the planet is orbiting. Because for a natural orbit to take 12,000 years would mean that the star is an incredible distance from the star its orbiting, and gravity does have a limit. So how could gravity reach that far, even with a massive star, and yet still take 12,000 years to make a full orbit? It doesn’t make sense. Unless, we’re looking at the wrong star. Which would be Nemesis, giving it an orbit that only looks like it’s going around another star.
Another Theory: Planet Nine
Once upon a time, the solar system that contained Earth had nine planets, the 9th of which was called Pluto. However, eventually that title was taken away from Pluto, so now the solar system only has eight planets…or does it? Scientists have been looking at the outer reaches of the solar system and have noticed some strange anomalies, mainly in the orbits and paths of certain objects that don’t line up with how objects should orbit the sun. Their theory is that somewhere out there in the outer realms of the solar system is a hidden planet…Planet Nine.
I’m sure on some level this may seem very strange, as you would think that we would know if there was another planet out there, especially if it’s as big as they think it is in order to affect the orbits of the objects mentioned. However, despite many man-made objects looking into space, we cannot possible cover the entire solar system with a “gaze”, as the system is many millions of miles wide and long.
This adds to both the strangeness and the mystery of Planet Nine, because since we can’t see it, we don’t know where it is right now, how big it is, what it’s made of, and more. Yet, the science and theories that say it’s there is sound.
Which brings us back to the Nemesis Theory, because if Nemesis isn’t real, but the extinction theory is, maybe Planet Nine is the answer. For if it’s where many people expect it to be, the gravity it omits could knock loose some entities in the Kuiper Belt and send them the way to Earth. But, just like Nemesis, we can’t “see” Planet Nine, so it’s just like Nemesis in the “theory” branch of everything.
So What Is The Real Answer?
So let’s bring this all back to square one, shall we? Where exactly does this leave the Nemesis Theory? Is there a twin to our sun out there in the universe that is actually threatening our way of life and also trying to destroy the planet in its own way? One person from NASA weighing in on the subject had this to say:
“The Nemesis hypothesis has far more evidence against it than for it,” he said, adding, “Regular passages of a massive object of this nature would have left a clear imprint on the crater distribution on the moon, and the dynamical structure of the minor bodies of the solar system, including the asteroids and Kuiper Belt objects, and no such signals have been observed.”
That does seem to be definitive proof, but those who are in favor of the Nemesis Theory state that there are some factors that prove it could be real. And again, just because we don’t know an object is there doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. NASA is continually finding new planets, new stars, and sometimes even new systems. What’s more, there are mysteries of the universe that we haven’t solved yet.
So Nemesis…or non-existent? Only time and exploration will tell us.