2012: Doomsday? Noooooo…

They say the world will end in December 21, 2012 when the ancient Mayan Long Count calendar ends.

They even have a movie on it – 2012 – that will be released today.

Although the movie is categorised as “Science Fiction”, there are some of us out there who really believe that December 21, 2012 will mark the end of the world. They were misled, of course, by doomsdayers who tried to make the disasters sound scientific but without evidences to support their claims. Doomsdayers said:

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1) The Mayan Long Count calendar ends, so the world ends.
If we are going to worried about Mayan calendar ends will marks doomsday in 2012, shouldn’t we first worried about the coming December 31 when our Gregorian calendar ends? Why not the end of our Gregorian or the Islamic or the Chinese or other calendars means doomsday? Why only the end of an ancient Mayan calendar means doomsday? If the Mayan can predict that the world will end in 5000 years time, then why can’t they foresee the collapse of their own civilisation?

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2) Our Earth’s magnetic fields will flip and the radiation from space will kill us all.
It’s true that in Earth’s history our magnetic fields had flipped before. It happened before and scientist said it might happen in the future, but this doesn’t means that it will happen in December 21, 2012. Magnetic field reversal takes times to happen, not just in one day. Even if it did happened (which is highly unlikely), it didn’t mean that we’ll lose our magnetosphere; it just means that the polarity will reverse (north magnetic pole will be at South Pole now), the magnetosphere will still be around to protect us from space radiation.

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3) The Sun will release a massive solar flare and kill us all.
Our Sun will be approaching solar maximum – the peak of its 11-year cycle – in 2012, so we will be expecting a lot of solar activities such as coronal mass ejection or solar flare. It was said that one of them will be big enough to kill us all – the Killer Solar Flare. Can our Sun do that? No. Solar flare from our Sun is not powerful enough to overcome our magnetosphere, ionosphere and thick atmosphere below. For satellite and astronaut in space that are not protected by our magnetosphere, they may be in trouble, but not you and me who are standing on Earth’s surface.

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4) Planet X is coming for us and will strike our planet and kill us all.
Asteroids and comets impact are not uncommon on Earth. If they do strike today, and given big enough size, they can do a lot of damage or even wiped us out. To ensure that we have enough time to take actions if one is to strike, we have survey that are actively searching and track these potentially dangerous objects, such as NEAT (Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking) or Spaceguard Survey. The bigger an object, the easier is for us to find them. So far, we have not found anything as big as a planet that is coming for us. You can visit NASA Near Earth Object Program to find out more.

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5) On this day, the Sun, our Earth and the Galactic Centre will align and cause disasters.
When we say alignment in astronomy, it means that three or more objects in the sky lined up. Opposition and conjunction are examples of alignment. It’s true that the Sun, our Earth and the Galactic Centre will align on December 21, 2012, but this alignment happens every year in December… why not anything happened in the past or going to happen this year or next year or next next year? Why disasters are only going to happen in 2012? What’s so special about 2012? Another question is, why is such an alignment will cause anything to happen on Earth? The Galactic Centre is so so far away, weather it’s on “this side” or on “that side” or on “any side” will not have any real effect on us.

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What I’ve written here is just a short summary of this 2012 doomsday nonsense. I strongly urge you to visit Universe Today site for more thorough and details articles on each of the items above.

If you don’t like to read, it’s OK, you can listen to it at the April 27th of 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: Will the World End in 2012?

“I hope this podcast reassures you that life on Earth is not threatened on December 21, 2012 any more than it usually is. Doomsdayers are just kooks trying to get their 15 minutes of fame or sell a product.”

And if you do watch the 2012 movie, keep in mind it’s purely for entertainment, and no more.

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~ by thChieh on November 12, 2009.

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