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ZetaTalk: Swirling Moons
Note: written during the 2001 sci.astro debates. Planet X and the 12th Planet are one and the same.

Where spin on the surface of a planet is dictated by the moving core of the planet, pulling or pushing on an object free to move on the surface, spin in space is dictated by whatever the spinning object is bound to. This is not explored by man, who strives to move directly in space and treats any spin in an object under their control as a problem to be corrected promptly, as in "the probe has developed a spin and is threatening to spin out of control". The reasons for the spin having developed in the first place is treated as an irrelevancy, and the only issue whether or not the probe is under control. The spin is suppressed by the little jets that allow man to control his probes when their trajectory needs to be corrected, and this thus allows mankind to feel smug about his knowledge of how things work. The moons of Planet X, which trail it like a string of pearls out in space, have no such little jets, so nature, not man, rules, and the full result of a spin out in space can be observed. Why do the moons trail, and spin in a slow whirlwind behind Planet X, rather than orbit the planet?

Moons in orbit around planets in a relatively circular orbit around a sun have more than their planet affecting their behavior. They are of a mass that prevents their plummeting to the planet, as they are evoking the gravitational repulsion force between themselves and their planet. They are moving, not stationary, not because of the attraction to the planet, which is at a standstill, but because of attractions to other elements in the solar system. Like a liquid core of a rotating body, they are moving toward what attracts them, overshooting the point where they are closest to the attractant, moving around to the far point because of momentum, and proceeding to approach the attractant again. Where there are a number of moons orbiting a planet, they position themselves like the planets around a sun, at a comfortable distance from each other to avoid collision, as the repulsion force is in operation between the moons, which are of relatively equal size, too.

Where it would seem that an orbit, in an orbital plane, around a sun or a planet is the natural outcome, this is disrupted during the swift passage that Planet X makes past one of its foci, the sun or its dead twin some 18.74 Sun-Pluto lengths away. Planet X moves away from its moons, pulling forward with increasing speed, at the same time that it is passing one of its suns and any planets that are orbiting that sun. The moons have conflicting dictates.

Moons that have arrived in a whirlwind behind a rapidly traveling planet have a new dictate to deal with, in that they find other moons directly in the path they wish to take toward their gravitational giant, in this case Planet X. They are trying to catch the planet, while caught in momentum that their circular chase toward other attractants in the vicinity has created, but during their approach to their planet they find other moons in the way and this causes a fourth dictate, a bump away from their traveling planet.

Why would such a moon pattern perpetuate itself? Does Planet X not come to a virtual stop at the mid-point between its two foci? Having established a swirl behind the planet, the moons have two factors preventing a return to the normal orbital pattern of moons around a planet. First, their swirl perpetuates itself. The speed is dictated not only by the normal rotation around a gravitational master that attractants in the vicinity would create, it is dictated by the need to move away from the other moons in the swirl. Second, the larger moons in the cluster are perpetually trying to reach a closer proximity to their planet, the point where the repulsion force between the moon and its planet creates a stalemate. Being the larger moons, they push smaller moons away from their path, but this pushing action, in space, has the effect of causing them both to move, thus not only increasing and perpetuating their swirling motion, but also pushing the larger moon away from the planet it seeks to come closer to.

Thus, the moons of Planet X, having assumed a swirl that perpetuates itself, remain in a dance behind Planet X even during its dither point between its two foci. Planet X moves, however slowly, at its dither point, so the swirl is always positioned between Planet X and the foci it is leaving. This swirl, unique to man in any comets or planets it observes, is what caused the ancients to call the passing monster, red in the sky because of its illuminated red dust cloud, a dragon, lashing its tail, the swirl of moons.

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