A Hint of Nemesis is found 20 January 2016.

“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”--Hamlet

The legendary celestial body known as Nemesis, Planet X, Nibiru, Marduk, Tranpluto, Vulcan, The Ottawa Object, the Ninth Planet, etc. and supposedly responsible for past mass extinctions of life on our planet, has apparently been detected by modern astronomers. Does this mean that the end times are near for humanity?

The first suggestion that something big might be affecting the orbits of distant, icy bodies came in 2014. An international team of astronomers announced that they’d discovered a new dwarf planet, nicknamed Biden, that stays even farther out than Sedna. They also noted a strange clustering in the orbits of these objects, and in the orbits of about a dozen others. Perhaps, they hypothesized, the gravity of some unseen planet was acting as a shepherd.

“They were pointing out that there was something funny going on in the outer solar system, but nobody could really understand what it was,” says Brown. “Ever since they pointed it out we’ve been scratching our heads.”

The idea of a huge, hidden planet seemed kind of crazy. “No one really took it very seriously,” says Brown. “It was ignored more than you might guess.”

But he walked a few doors down to meet with Batygin and suggested they take this on. As they studied the freaky way that these objects lined up in space, Brown says, they realized that “the only way to get these objects to line up in one direction is to have a massive planet lined up in the other direction.”

What’s more, this planet naturally explains why the dwarf planets Sedna and Biden have weird orbits that never let them come in close to the solar system. “This wasn’t something we were setting out to explain,” says Brown. “This is something that just popped out of the theory.”

But there was one moment that turned Brown into a believer. Their computer simulations predicted that if this hypothetical planet existed, it would twist the orbits of other small bodies in a certain way. So Brown looked through some old data to see if any icy bodies had been discovered with those kinds of orbits — and, lo and behold, he found five of them.

“They’re objects that nobody has really explained or tried to explain before,” says Brown. “My jaw hit the floor. That just came out of the blue. Being able to make a prediction and having it come true in five minutes is about as fun as it gets in science.”

Their work suggests how big the planet must be, and more or less where it could be found. Brown has already started looking. He hopes other scientists will too.

“I want to know what it’s like. I want to see that it’s really there,” says Brown. “It will hurt when somebody finds it and it’s not me — but I assume it’s going to happen, and I’m willing to feel that pain.”