Well, the New Year is here, and a lot of people are predicting that the world will end in 2012. Here are 12 things that you need to know about the 2012 prophecy.
1. The end of the world prophecy is consistently dismissed by scholars. So don’t worry folks, the world isn’t going to end in 2012.
2. The prophecy is based on the Mayan calendar which goes back over 5000 years.
3. A New Age interpretation of this transition is that this date marks the start of time in which Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that 2012 may mark the beginning of a new era.
4. Many Mayan scholars have expressed frustration that the idea that the Long Count calendar “ends” in 2012 misrepresents Maya history and culture. Astronomers and other scientists have rejected the proposed events aspseudoscience, stating that they are contradicted by simple astronomical observations.
5. December 2012 marks the conclusion of a b’ak’tun—a time period in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar which was used in Central America prior to the arrival of Europeans.
6. The predicted day for some who believe in the 2012 Prophecy is December 21, 2012. So there is still time!
7. There is no significant astronomical event tied to the Long Count’s start date. However, its supposed end date has been tied to astronomical phenomena by esoteric, fringe, and New Age literature that places great significance on astrology.
8. In India, the guru Kalki Bhagavan has promoted 2012 as a “deadline” for human enlightenment since at least 1998.
9. Some proponents of doomsday in 2012 claim that a planet called Planet X, or Nibiru, will collide with or pass by Earth in that year. This idea, which has appeared in various forms since 1995, initially predicted Doomsday in May, 2003, but proponents later abandoned that date after it passed without incident. The idea originated from claims of channeling of alien beings and has been widely ridiculed. Astronomers have calculated that such an object so close to Earth would be visible to anyone looking up at the night sky.
10. The History Channel and the Discovery Channel have aired television shows that support the idea that the world will end in 2012, however it is widely understood that it was all in the vein of entertainment.
11. Some media outlets have tied the possibility that the red supergiant star Betelgeuse will undergo asupernova at some point in the future to the 2012 phenomenon. However, while Betelgeuse is certainly in the final stages of its life, and will die as a supernova, there is no way to predict the timing of the event to within 100,000 years. To be a threat to Earth, a supernova would need to be as close as 25 light years to the Solar System. Betelgeuse is roughly 600 light years away, and so its supernova will not affect Earth.
12. A common question on Internet forums regarding 2012 is whether or not they should kill themselves, their children or their pets in anticipation of the end of the world.