Doomsday on 21 December 2012 - End of the world or the day of misunderstanding?

nikipetrov's picture
PDF versionPDF version

Doomsday on 21 December 2012 - End of the world or the day of misunderstanding?

 

Powerful solar explosions, blasts of supernovae or gamma bursts of stars are certain factors for the occurrence of wildlife on Earth. All these factors could lead to rapid mutation pattern and great biodiversity. Of course, we

must not underestimate our planet’s collisions with large asteroids or comets! As a consequence, the evolution of life on Earth is not only a result of species variations and adaptation to environmental conditions. This is particularly true for the human beings - we think, speak and communicate, unlike any other creature. But we are often afraid of the unknown.

Nowadays though, given the knowledge that we have developed over time, our fears are less. We know of fire, thunder, earthquakes, volcanoes and hurricanes. Man aims at increasing scientific achievements - our eyes are looking outside our planet. There are still quite a few events for which there is no exact explanation, but by using our unique abilities and scientific approach we must try to understand them. Well, is this possible we could not answer, but surely we must try.

It is surprising how in our modern world some strange ideas appear and raise unprecedented panic all around – the Earth is once again approaching doomsday! For several years now we know the exact day of our destruction – the 21st of December 2012. Perhaps there was a slight inaccuracy with a day or two, but nonetheless the date is fixed, and without any scientific fact or evidence! Surely this date will remain in our history as the day of misunderstanding (for some at least). There are at least three reasons propounded for the end of the world on the 21st of December 2012, erratically circulating in mass media, but none of them is covered by any scientific fact.

 

End of the world in December 2012 – three versions.

Version one!

The Earth will die after colliding with the planet Nibiru!

This mysterious planet, often called Planet X is an infinitely strange object! The information about Nibiru in cyberspace is that this planet is comparable in size with Jupiter. Strangely, there is no astronomer, amateur astronomer and sober person who is able to see it.

 

We have good enough observation equipment to notice an object like that on the night sky, but obviously this is a privilege for a chosen few.

The myth of the planet began in early nineties of the 20th century, from the hypotheses of Zecharia Sitchin (http://www.sitchin.com/) based on translation of Sumerian records. Few are those who are able to read these texts - I myself cannot. And when it is necessary to interpret the stone carvings, the imagination of the individual is decisive. Figure 1 is related to one of the hypotheses of Sitchin and represents the Sun, the Moon and 10 planets - including a mysterious world known as Nibiru.

Fig. 1. Sumerian cylinder seal, known as VA243

Probably this is really the sun and some other celestial objects, but no one can say precisely what these objects are. Maybe some of them are planets, and some are stars. And we can offer a different interpretation of this picture. It is possible that the firstborn son of emperor is depicted as the Sun along with his other children, and why not his favorite horse or dog. It is possible to be all the women of this emperor!? Here everyone can present their own interpretations and they would be equally true. But my strong opinion is that there isn’t any planet Nibru (about the size of Jupiter) on this engraving, and nothing indicates that it will hit the Earth exactly on the 21st of December 2012!

 

Version two!

The Sun, Earth and the center of our galaxy (Milky Way) will be arranged in a line.

This option is related to how the arrangement of these three bodies in a line will be happen on December 21, 2012. Even more, exactly on this day the core of our galaxy (a black hole) will eject a devastating stream of energy towards us – the destruction is inevitable. Interesting idea, but absolutely false!

Sun and the entire solar system orbits the center of our Galaxy at an average speed of about 210 km/s, also one galactic year consists of about 250 million years (Myr). In its orbit around the galactic center, we observe also a perpendicular motion of the Sun to the galactic plane. The period and amplitude of the Sun's motion are important parameters in some explanations of the terrestrial mass extinctions and cratering records (Bahcall JN and Bahcall S., 1985). The most recent passage of the Sun through the galactic plane occurred roughly 3 million years ago which means that the current position of the Sun is between 0 and 20 pc above the plane (yellow line on the Figure 2). Half-period for the vertical oscillation of the Solar System about the plane of the galaxy is about 30 Myr (Thaddeus P. and Chanan G., 1985). Such period is established by evidence from marine fossils for a 26 Myr periodicity in the occurrence of mass extinctions (Raup, D., Sepkoski, J., 1984).

Fig. 2. Scheme of the spatial composition of ecliptic and galactic planes. Angle between two planes is about 60 degrees. With red lines is marked the amplitude of perpendicular Sun's motion to the galactic plane with period 60 Myr. With the yellow line is marked the present position of the solar system (over galactic plane).

Galactic equator and the plane of our galaxy does not coincide with the ecliptic (the plane in which the Earth revolves around the Sun). Moreover, the two planes are at an angle of about 60 degrees, which means that the Sun, Earth and the center of our galaxy can never be placed on the same line (Fig. 2). It is true that these two planes intersect, and this coincides with the days of the winter and summer solstice, but these are just intersections of planes and have nothing to do with any idea of ​​a cataclysm on 21 Dec 2012.

 

Version three!

The magnetic poles of the earth will flip!

Flipping of Earth's magnetic poles is possible. This has already happened more than once. The magnetic orientation is shown through geological studies on volcanic rocks. For now, we cannot determine the exact period of magnetic poles flip (Lutz, TM, 1985). The last magnetic poles flip happened about 780,000 years ago. The transition itself needs tens or hundreds of years and is not likely to happen during 1-2 days. Moreover, some studies show that the axial dipole begins to decay 60-80 kyr before reversals, and rebuilds itself in the opposite direction in only a few thousand years (Jean-Pierre V., Laure M., And Yohan G., 2005). We do not know exactly why this happens, but we know for sure that this will not happen on December 21, 2012.

It is true that the Earth's magnetic field weakens. It is certain that the Earth will completely lose its magnetic field, and this will expose us to the devastating impact of solar radiation - life on our planet would seize to exist as we know it now. Our models suggest that this will happen in the next few hundred million years, i.e. this is not our problem now, too.

 

Conclusion

Of the billions of stars in our galaxy and billions of other galaxies, our planet Earth is the only place with intelligent beings (for now) - if there is a heaven, it is here and now! We see a countless amount of hostile places to live in the infinite space. We are lucky to live on Earth in one of the vast diversity of life. We should not allow ignorance to invoke unfounded fears. The date December 21, 2012 will not be the Earth’s doomsday; this is only one a date of misunderstanding of illiterate people with limited thinking.

Yes, the Earth is doomed, but that is far ahead in time. Until then we just have to try to know the life around us. We need to learn better how to live in harmony with the nature. Let us not allow imaginary demons and unjustified fears to take over our minds.

 

References

Bahcall J. N., Bahcall S.: 1985, The Sun's motion perpendicular to the galactic plane, Nature 316, pp. 706-708.

Jean-Pierre V., Laure M., and Yohan G.: 2005, Geomagnetic dipole strength and reversal rate over the past two million years, Nature 435, pp. 802-805.

Lutz, T. M., 1985, The magnetic reversal record is not periodic, Nature 317, pp. 404-407.

Raup, D., Sepkoski, J., 1984, Periodicity of extinctions in the geologic past, Proc. Nati. Acad. Sci. USA, 81, pp. 801-805.

Thaddeus P., Chanan G., 1985, Cometary impacts, molecular clouds, and the motion of the Sun perpendicular to the galactic plane, Nature 314, pp. 73 – 75.