Will the world really end on December 21st 2012?

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Earth from space
When viewed from the International Space Station (ISS), the night skies are illuminated with light from many sources. For example, the Midwestern United States presents a nighttime appearance not unlike a patchwork quilt when viewed from orbit - image from NASA ©2012
Earth from space
When viewed from the International Space Station (ISS), the night skies are illuminated with light from many sources. For example, the Midwestern United States presents a nighttime appearance not unlike a patchwork quilt when viewed from orbit – image from NASA ©2012

THUNDER BAY – The world is ending on December 21st 2012? Not according the NASA. David Morrison, the Senior Scientist at the NASA Lunar Science Institute states, “There is widespread and unnecessary fear of doomsday on December 21, 2012. Some people worry about a Maya prophesy of the end of the world, others fear a variety of astronomical threats such as collision with a rogue planet”.

As December 21st draws nearer, “It’s all a hoax, and it’s based on absolutely no factual information. None of the things that are supposed to happen are real, and so it’s kind of hard to even have a scientific discussion about what they’re worried about because there’s no science there,” states Morrison.

NASA has taken the concerns and addressed them. The agency states, “The group most vulnerable to doomsday claims is children. Teachers report that many of their students are frightened and some are even considering suicide. This is the most tragic consequence of the 2012 hoax”.

The space agency has created a list of the top ‘hoaxes’ and offers them along with some facts:

Mayan Calendar: The Maya calendar, which is made up different cycles of day counts, does not end this year. Rather, one cycle of 144,000 days (394 years) ends and the next cycle begins.

Mayan Prophecy: The ancient Maya did not predict the end of the world or any disaster in December 2012. Such doomsday predictions are a modern hoax.

Planet Nibiru: Nibiru is probably the minor name of a god found in ancient Mesopotamian writing. There is no planet named Nibiru, and the fictional books by economist Zecharia Sitchin about a civilization on this planet are a hoax.

Rogue Planet Headed for Earth: For the past decade there have been reports of a rogue object (Planet X, or Nibiru, or Hercubolus, or even Comet Elenin) that will collide with Earth in December 2012. These claims are not true. If such a threatening world existed, it would be one of the brightest objects in the sky, and astronomers would have been tracking it for years. If it existed, its gravity would be distorting the orbits of planets, especially Mars and Earth. Astronomers know that it does not exist.

Planet Alignments: There is no alignment of planets in Dec 2012. There is an approximate lining up of the Earth and Sun and the center of our Galaxy in late December, but this happens every year. In any case, planet alignments have no effect on the Earth.

Pole Shift: There is nothing strange this year about either the magnetic poles or the rotational poles of the Earth. The magnetic polarity changes every million years or so, but that is not happening now, and it probably takes thousands of years when it does happen. A sudden change in the rotational axis has never happened and is not possible. If there were any change in the Earth’s rotation, it would be instantly apparent by failure of our GPS systems.

Increasing Disasters: Our planet is behaving normally in 2012, although we see more and more news stories about natural disasters. There has been no increase in earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. There has been an increase in extreme weather, including both droughts and floods, which are partly attributable to global warming, but this has nothing to do with a 2012 doomsday.

Solar Outbursts: The Sun’s ongoing 11-year activity cycle is expected to peak in 2013, not 2012. Solar outbursts (flares and CMEs) can damage orbiting satellites but will not hurt us on the surface. The strength of the 2013 solar maximum is predicted to be lower than average, not higher.

Bunker Conspiracy: Accusations of a massive government cover-up are nonsense. No government could hide an incoming planet or silence hundreds of thousands of scientists. Rumors that huge bunkers have been built in the U.S. or elsewhere to shelter the elite are lies. Apparently a few people are building private shelters, but their fear of 2012 is misplaced and they are wasting their money.

The End of the World: The idea of the sudden end of the world by any cause is absurd. The Earth has been here for more than 4 billion years, and it will be several more billion years before the gradual brightening of the Sun makes our planet unlivable. Meanwhile there is no known astronomical or geological threat that could destroy the Earth.

 

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