Lovecraft and Planet Nine, Part 2

In the previous article we discussed the evidence that has been recently presented by Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown of CalTech for the existence of a large, ninth planet beyond the orbit of Neptune. A large part of this evidence focuses on how objects in the Kuiper Belt all have orbits oriented in the same direction at about 30 degrees below the ecliptic plan. This hypothetical 9th Planet would be at least 10 times larger in mass relative to the Earth and its orbit around the Sun would be between 10,000 to 20,000 years. We also pointed to the fact that differences between the Newtonian predictions and the observations of the orbit of Uranus led to the discovery of Neptune. Thus, Neptune was first discovered through mathematics before the actual planet was observed. A similar situation may apply to this 9th Planet.

Planet-9-Art-NEWS-WEB                                               An artist’s interpretation of what the 9th planet in our solar system may look like (www.nasa.gov)

Prior to the discovery of Yuggoth (known to some as Pluto), there was much speculation over the existence of a 9th Planet, again to explain slight differences between predicted and observed orbits of Uranus and Neptune and Lovecraft mentioned this a number of times in his articles on astronomy. In a letter Lovecraft wrote to Scientific American in 1906 he noted that seven comets have their aphelia (the  point in the orbit of a body that is furthest from the Sun) at a point where a planet would be revolving around the Sun at a distance of about 100 astronomical units (a.u.). Remember the distance from Earth to the Sun is 1 a.u. and the Kuiper Belt is a zone on the outer rim of our solar system between 50 and 150 a.u. from the Sun. To put this in context relative to Pluto, that dwarf planet is 39.5 a.u. from the Sun. Lovecraft also noted that “a great many comets cluster around a point 50 a.u. out, where a large body might revolve.” So even before Pluto was discovered in 1930, the presence of a 9th Planet was suggested. Lovecraft concludes the letter by suggesting that the observatories of the world should band together and look for this hypothetical world (Collected Essays, Volume 3: Science. H.P. Lovecraft; edited by S.T. Joshi, 2005).

In an article written for the Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner later in 1906, titled “Are There Undiscovered Planets: Boundaries of Our System Still Shrouded in Obscurity,” Lovecraft noted that for most of human history only six planets were known until the discovery of Uranus in 1781 and Neptune in 1846. Lovecraft then went on to state that the two places in the solar system where additional planets could potentially be discovered was between Mercury and the Sun and beyond Neptune.

Image-of-Ladd-Observatory                Ladd Observatory of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island

Pluto was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh and Lovecraft certainly took note:

“Incidentally—you have no doubt read reports of the discovery of the new trans-Neptunian planet . . . . a thing which excites me more than any other happening of recent times.”

“The first real planet to be discovered since 1846 & only the third in the history of the human race! One wonders what it is like, & what dim-litten fungi may sprout coldly on its frozen surface! I think I shall suggest its being named Yuggoth! Reports make it smaller than Uranus & Neptune, but larger than the earth.”

These quotes are from a letter to Ms. Elizabeth Toldridge from 1 April 1930 (citation found at http://www.hplovecraft.com). Thus, only weeks after the discovery of Pluto was officially announced on 13 March 1930, Lovecraft was already suggesting that the then-named planet be called Yuggoth. However, Lovecraft was clearly wrong about Yuggoth being larger than Earth. In fact, as shown below Yuggoth is smaller than our moon, which is one of the reasons it has been classified as a dwarf-planet. Additionally, the small size of Yuggoth means that it could not explain the perturbations associated with the orbits of Uranus and Neptune. Some other celestial body must be contributing to the observed conditions. Hence, the presence of a large, 9th Planet could help to explain these observed perturbations, just as the presence Uranus helps to explain some of the perturbations associated with the orbit of Neptune.

xena_size_compare                        Comparing the size of Earth to Yuggoth, another dwarf-planet Xena and the moon

 

uranus%20and%20neptune                       A comparison of Earth, Uranus, Neptune and Yuggoth (Pluto)

So what exactly is the 9th Planet in the Lovecraftian Solar System? While this large, semi-galactic planet may actually be Yuggoth, based on most of Lovecraft’s writings Pluto is Yuggoth. For example, in “The Haunter in the Dark” Shaggai is mentioned as being more distant than Yuggoth and may be the 10th planet of our solar system. However, as noted by Joshi the first mention of Yuggoth by Lovecraft is in The Fungi of Yuggoth where it is described as “past the starry voids.” According to Joshi this may indicate that Yuggoth is entirely out of our solar system, even out of our known Universe (Lovecraft and a World in Transition: Collected Essays on H.P. Lovecraft, by S.T. Joshi from Hippocampus Press, 2014).  Such suggestions may indicate that Yuggoth is a celestial body that “phases” or travels through universes, and this may be how the Mi-Go travel inter-dimensionally. The Mi-Go are said not to made of the same type of matter that we are – maybe Yuggoth is similarly composed of extra-dimensional matter.

mi_go__the_fungi_from_yuggoth_by_corvenicenail-d5urdtb

Mi-Go, the Fungi from Yuggoth by Corvenicenail (www.deviantart.com)

While the extra-dimensional hypothesis for Yuggoth is intriguing, based on Lovecraft’s work it is more than likely Pluto is Yuggoth – once thought of being the 9th planet of the solar system and recently re-categorized as a dwarf planet. So is the true 9th planet Shaggai? Possibly, however another candidate is Kynarth, which is only mentioned once in “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” where Randolph Carter sees Kynarth and Yuggoth on the rim (Joshi, 2014).  Joshi hypothesizes that Kynarth may be the 10th planet but based on the wording “Kynarth and Yuggoth on the rim” I suggest they sound being fairly close to each other so Kynarth may be Yuggoth’s (Pluto’s) “moon” Charon.

Pluto-Charon-v2-10-1-15

If the dwarf-planet Pluto is Yuggoth, is its moon known as Charon actually Kynarth?

So if the 9th Planet is Shaggai, what do we know about it? That will be the focus of the next article. Thank you – Fred.

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2 thoughts on “Lovecraft and Planet Nine, Part 2

  1. Nice article as always, but I question your assertion that in most of Lovecraft’s work, Pluto is identified as Yuggoth. It’s simply not the case. In “The Whisperer in Darkness”, Wilmarth is told roughly where Yuggoth lies, and that the Mi-Go will soon direct astronomers attention to that world. Afterwards, he reads of the discovery of Pluto and assumes – without much in the way of evidence – that this must be Yuggoth, though the story never makes this connection explicit. Lovecraft himself never specifically identified Pluto as Yuggoth. Even when discussing it in private correspondence in 1930, he only suggested that Pluto was “probably” Yuggoth. Some later writers assumed that Pluto and Yuggoth were the same, with as much evidence as Wilmarth, but others such as Richard Lupoff have disregarded this. Lupoff suggested in his “The Discovery of the Ghooric Zone” that Yuggoth is a vast trans-Neptunian world orbiting perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic.

    1. Thank you for the comments – in many of Lovecraft’s letters he displays his excitement over the discovery of Pluto and hypotheses that indeed it might by Yuggoth. Again, thank you for the comments! Fred

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