Once a week from 1959 to 1964, Rod Serling invited Americans to “the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition.” The Twilight Zone illustrated the permeable boundary between fact and fantasy, a region explored by science, which pushes the edges of the unknown, postulating things unproven, but inferred.
The announcement of the discovery of Planet Nine falls into this category of deduced reality. Astronomers and theorists examined odd behavior of the eight major planets and their poor cousins, the dwarf planets, as well as the Solar System’s population of comets and asteroids. The best explanation was another major planet, probably a gas giant halfway in size between Earth and Neptune, circling the sun every 10,000 to 20,000 years. They invited the world to hunt for this invisible titan, find it, or prove them wrong.
People now have a choice: Believe in Planet Nine or not. Scientists have proposed planets beyond the eight accepted “wanderers” before. All were debunked. Black holes were predicted, then found. Planet Nine lives in this secret sphere of maybe/maybe not, in a place where another one of my favorite shows, The X-Files, loves to hang out. For the entire run of the show, protagonist Fox Mulder attempted to prove the existence of the shadow world he believed in.
The timing of Planet Nine’s announcement could not have been better, coming a few days before the six-episode reboot of the adventures of Mulder and his partner, Dana Scully. In fact, one could postulate a conspiracy between FOX and Fox, or at least Fox’s inventor, producer Chris Carter. I’m hoping somehow Carter will work in a line from Mulder about the existence of Planet Nine. I’m guessing Fox’s heart is in the same place as mine. I want to believe.
Do you believe?