After the EU referendum and the loss of a host of beloved celebrities, many people were happy to see the back of 2016. But if you thought the past 12 months were bad, they could pale in comparison to what 2017 has in store.

Or so conspiracy theorists – who insist a mysterious planet in course to destroy the world – would have us believe. Author David Meade claims a dark star dubbed Planet X – also known as Nibiru – is hurtling towards us and will smash into Earth in October, ending all life as we know it. He declares there is ‘overwhelming’ evidence for his theory, citing volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, sinkholes and storms.

He even writes: “The Elite are frantically building underground ‘safety’ bunkers. Heat waves are getting stronger and are lasting longer. I’m just waiting for the fat lady to sing”. One might expect astronomers to have spotted this impending catastrophe.

But Meade says: “This system is, of course, not aligned with our solar system’s ecliptic, but is coming to us from an oblique angle and toward our South Pole.  This makes observations difficult, unless you’re flying at a high altitude over South America with an excellent camera”. He details his theory in his book ‘Planet X – The 2017 Arrival’.

But, Meade’s doomsday prophesy is not supported by scientists. NASA has previously said: “Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an internet hoax. Obviously, it does not exist.” Nibiru was even claimed to be on course to destroy Earth as recently as December 2015. That prediction came just two months after doomsday groups wrongly warned the world would be ‘obliterated by fire’.