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Re: Some Thoughts on Planet X

In Article <992673315.430839@sj-nntpcache-3> Andy Francke wrote:
> In Article <>
>> I refer you, for brevity, to the reports linked from the
>> Rogue Planet TEAM page at
> Whatever anybody saw, galaxy (and there are three galaxies
> within 1/2 degree of those coordinates, contrary to the claim
> put forward by the reports), or comet, or star, it was not the
> magnitude you described.

To make the statement that “it was not the magnitude you described” is
making the statement that ONLY objects already in the star charts would
have been there.  Andy has an open mind, and apparently believes that
NASA et al would not lie to him, JFK and Iran Contra not withstanding.
Andy is a good little boy, and believes what those in authority tell
him.  Period.

For the Lowell sighting, done on April 1, 2001, the following
coordinates were used:
    RA 5.151245 Dec 16.55743 on April 1, 2001

Subject: [tt-watch] Lowell Sighting (was: Basis for a poleshift)
Date: Sat, 19 May 2001 21:29:24 -0000

    I am the person who viewed an object on the night of April 1st
    at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ. I am posting this
    message because it has recently been suggested that my
    sighting was a hoax. It was not a hoax. I was there and I saw
    SOMEthing extremely close to the coordinates I recieved from
    Nancy Lieder which I requested from her specifically for that
    evening. There were 6 people there that night. Three of us,
    including the telescope operator (who by his own admission is
    not an astronomer but has been operating the telescopes at
    Lowell for the past 3 years) saw the object. I don't know what
    the object was. The operator didn't know what the object was.
    The object was described BY THE OPERATOR as diffuse and
    of approximate magnitude 11. I have asked two professional
    astronomers what they thought the object might be based on
    the coordinates where it was found and the description (both
    of which come from the telescope operator). The reply from
    the first can be found here [on this page]. Here is the
    previously unpublished response of the second astronomer:

        <begin response>
        [A mutual friend] has passed along your note to him about
        an object or "something" found in northern Orion in April.
        As you were advised by [astronomer 1], there is nothing
        obvious closely matching your description at the nominal
        location, although there are two open clusters in the region.
        NGC 1807 is only a weak scattering of stars, but NGC 1817
        is a fairly rich group of faint stars which would have spread
        across the entire field of the 16-inch telescope even at its
        lowest magnification. A look at the Digitized Sky Survey
        images of the region
        shows nothing diffuse within a quarter-degree radius from
        the position you give. Your note suggests you were
        expecting to see something at the location before you came
        for the viewing session. Did you perhaps have a photograph
        or make some visual observation prior to this time? In brief,
        I don't know what you could have seen, and without some
        sort of follow-up observation we can't determine whether
        there was perhaps an unknown comet in the area at the time.
        There were no known comets in the area at the time. The
        area would have been well surveyed for moving targets by
        the LINEAR project in New Mexico, so it is unlikely a
        bright comet would have slipped past them.

        Hope this helps, [astronomer 2]
        <end response>

Subject: [tt-watch] My outing at Lowell Observatory
Date: Wed, 04 Apr 2001 03:06:45 -0000

    The next day, Monday April 2nd 2001, I emailed an
    acquaintance who is a very experienced amateur astronomer.
    I asked him how I might determine what the object that I
    saw was and I gave him the description and coordinates.
    Here is the relevant part of his reply:

        I have checked this position WITHIN SEVERAL
        DEGREES (my emphasis) and found no nebula,
        galaxy or planetary nebula. I did, however, find the
        following open clusters near your position:

            NGC1807 051042 +163200 ~20 stars,
                Mag: 7.0 diam:~16'/arc
            NGC1817 051206 +164200 ~60 stars,
                Mag: 7.7 diam:~17'/arc

        I don't know how accurate the telescope's coordinate
        readouts are, but with what you gave me, these are the only
        objects that might fit your discription. Diffuse? Well, I
        would think you would have been able to resolve the above
        clusters into stars, yet, it may have been a thin overcast
        and not possible.  Often a tiny closly packed cluster of
        stars (called an asterism) might have looked like a diffuse

        On the other hand, it may really have been a new comet
        you stumbled upon! If my equipment were working, I could
        easily verify if this object was the above clusters or not.
        But, alas... :(

    Note: it WAS partly cloudy that night but there were patches
    of clear sky. The sky was clear in the direction we were looking.

    I intend to follow up on this by reserving the telescope in
    another couple of months or so. I also intend to ask my
    astronomer acquaintance to use his equipment to verify as
    soon as it is back online.