Special Request: 2012

Whenever someone figures out what I went to school for, usually the first thing I’m asked about is what will happen on December 21st 2012. I say usually because 99% of the time my educational path is confused with Astrology, a 6 month degree you can obtain that holds less value than an expired coupon.

There are many forms of “2012” floating around the web and inside the noggins of crazy people and they range from:

  1. Planetary and/or Galactic alignment – all the planets line up causing massive gravitational forces tearing our planet apart
  2. Reversal of our magnetic poles
  3. Mayan calendar and self destruct mode because the calendar’s they made ended on that day
  4. A collision with the mysterious planet X
  5. Alien invasion / occupation of Earth

Planetary and Galactic alignment

There’s three alignments that can occur actually, one that includes the sun, one that doesn’t include the sun, and a third that includes the center of our galaxy. Here’s pictures explaining the difference between the three: (Awesome artwork by yours truly)

I’m like the new age Van Gogh..

Regardless of which one happens, nothing will occur on our planet, or any planet for that matter. Why? Multiple reasons! First off, we need to understand that the shortest possible distance between two points is a straight line, everyone should’ve learned this in kindergarten. Well the same is true for big objects like the Sun and the super massive black hole at the center of our galaxy (the name is actually SGR A2); they are technically always aligned. Them both being round objects, there is no way for them to “face away” from each other, so the gravitational pull on each of them is the same now as it was billions of years ago, so why would one day in the near future be of any significance when it’s been like that well before humanity ever existed?

But Jeff, holy crap, the planets will be in line with our sun, which is also in line with the center of the galaxy!!

This happens every year, in or around the same time, and has happened every Earth year since the Earth itself was in a stable orbit around the sun, some 6 billion years ago. Again, why would this one day be any different from the billions of years previously?

Magnetic Pole reversal

Once again, history to the rescue here. Almost 3/4 of a million years ago, the last shift in polarity of the Earth happened, and, you guessed it, nothing happened to substantially change the world as we know it today. Every half a million years or so, this happens, South becomes North, and vice versa.

But Jeff, the Dinosaurs became extinct when the last shift happened, couldn’t that happen to us too?

No, because the Dinosaur’s lived just a bit more in the past, roughly 64 MILLION years before the most recent shift happened. The Dinosaurs through all their paleontological periods lasted roughly 90 million years, and since a shift in the poles happens on average twice in one million years, they survived 180 shifts in the magnetic poles just fine before that big jerk of an asteroid hit the Earth causing sunlight to be blocked out, and them falling down the stairs of Atlantis; or so is my understanding of what happened here..

Mayan Calendar Prediction

You’re basing the end of the modern world on a civilization who existed for about 3000 years total, had no telescopes, and although they could apparently see the future thousands of years in advance, but couldn’t foresee their own slaughter by the Spanish forces?

But their calendar ended on December 21st 2012, therefor logic dictates that the end of a calendar means the end of the world, right?

Really? What logic is that? When your coffee is finished, does that mean there’s no more coffee left, in the entire world? No, it means that their limited amount of stone to carve their calendars in, and the infinite amount of space and time to track means that the lesser had to end at some point. (credit for the stone line: CGP Grey)

Also, Mayan’s never accounted for Leap years; therefor the translated date of the supposed end of the world has already happened, many thousands of years ago… but hey, we’re still kickin’

Planet X

Look up at the night sky. Stars, millions of stars you see right? Any one of those points in the sky could be a planet, or it could be a star. Venus, easily seen near the Moon on any given night, is a planet obviously, and it being an average of about 150 million KM from Earth we can see it as one of the brightest objects in the night sky. As of today, August 28th 2012, Venus would have to travel 150 million KM in 115 days, or at a speed of 54,348 km/h. At that speed, it would lose all of it’s atmosphere, gravitational forces on the planet from the momentum would crush itself, and it would disintegrate leaving a trail much like a comet behind it. So, with that knowledge, don’t you think we’d see something traveling that fast coming straight for Earth, on a trajectory that’s curving? Since Earth is orbiting the sun, and Venus is as well, it would have to travel in a long ) type curve to hit us, something that defies the very laws of physics itself.

Even IF there was some mysterious planet (which Astronomers have yet to find any evidence of), it would have to travel in a way that an object of that mass would not be able to travel in, without some sort of force pushing it, say, millions upon millions of rockets behind it.. with course correction jets to keep it on path..


Go turn the History channel back on.. it’s obviously providing you with groundbreaking evidence on History, between the Pawn Star marathon and the other Pawn Star marathon..

Jeff Wilton

Jeff is the founder and owner of Everyday Science Stuff. ESS is a one man operation, with the core belief that all education should be served without crippling debt tuition, without revenue generating ads and without any restrictions of any kind such as paywalls, forced login and account creations, geographical restrictions, and so on.

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2 Responses

  1. russell says:

    “Almost 3/4 of a million years ago, the last shift in polarity of the Earth happened … Every half a million years or so, this happens, South becomes North” … ? sounds like a shift is due imminently ?

    ” … but couldn’t foresee their own slaughter by the Spanish” come on Jeff, the Mayans were NOT killed off by the Spanish. they were gone some time (1000 years before the Spanish). I believe the credit goes to the Azteks but maybe not … I understand it was a change in rainfall patterns that doomed them, i thought to internal revolt.

    • Jeff says:

      That’s what’s known as “Astronomically Close”, a term that isn’t truly defined to a specific period. It could happen in a few days from now, it could happen in another million years, there’s no way to determine it.

      As for the second part, I’m not a historian, I don’t know the entirety of the civilization’s downfall – A quick glance at the Spanish conquest of the Yucatan lead me to write that line, with further solidification based on the research of CGP Grey, in a video he made on YouTube..

      Just last night I learned that the fall of the Roman Empire actually took up until the 1400′s CE (AD), when I had previously thought it was 50-100 years at most. Too much Hollywood in my head.

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