Thursday, December 31, 2009

2012 Doomsday

      Is the world really going to come to an end in 2012?  Is the government preparing to save and protect the elite while leaving the rest of us to defend ourselves?  Why have claims of top secret underground bunkers suddenly emerged in places like the Nevada desert, White House, Yamantau, and below a major metropolitan airport?  What's behind the Mayan Calendar's prophecy that the world will end in 2012?
       To see what's really behind this prophecy, you need to understand the Mayan Calendar.  This calendar is recorded as a carving on the Aztec "sun stone".  Our modern calendar, the Gregorian Calendar, is comprised of days, weeks, months, and years.  The Mayan Calender is much more complex because it consists of three calendars at the same time.  In the religious calendar, it takes 260 days to complete a full religious cycle.  It consists of 20 weeks each made up of 13 days.  Each week has a special name, graphic logo, and unique meaning associated with it.  The solar calendar has 365 days that are divided into 18 months with 20 days in each.  After all months have passed, the five remaining days are considered to be unlucky because they don't belong to a month.  Just as the weeks in the religious calendar, each month has a special name, graphic logo, and something significant about it.  The long count calendar is a linear number of days starting from the first day, "1", and counting through each day to the present.  Any day in history can be recorded through the long count and with some simple math, the corresponding religious week and solar month can also be found.
     Now that we understand the basics of this calendar, how do we know when it will end?  The days in the long count are numbered in an unusual system.  Instead of writing numbers from right to left as we do with each place being a multiple of 10, the Mayans used only 5 places.  The first place recorded a number from 0 to 20.  Left of that, the second number had a range of 0 to 17, the third 0 to 19, the fourth 0 to 19, and the last from 0 to 12.  The numbers were written from right to left, like our system, and separated by a dot.  Instead of multiples of 10, the first place had a 1 like our system, the second place a multiple of 20, the third a multiple of 360, the fourth a multiple of 7200, and the fifth a multiple of 144000.  Therefore, the maximum number that can be recorded is  This amounts to a long count of 1,872,000 days or 5125.36 years of our modern calculations.  Obviously, a very old calendar.
     Archeologists have found carved monuments recording the long counts for known dates in Mayan history.  Once a date was fixed in time, it was easy to determine "day 1" as August 11, 3114 BC.  Knowing that, we could calculate the date the calendar would end as December 21, 2012.  Why didn't the Mayans calculate a date beyond this point in time?  Using astronomy and astrophysics, we will take a closer look at December 21, 2012.
     The sun plays a key role in the final day of the "long count".  The barycenter is the "center of gravity" of an object.  That means it's the exact center of all matter (mass) that makes up an object.  Regarding the Earth and the sun, both bodies revolve, or spin, around the center of gravity between them (this point is called the barycenter).  Every two objects are "connected" by the gravity pulling them together.  That said, the barycenter between Earth and the sun is almost the very center of the sun.
     The new cycle has already begun but some surprising activity on March 27, 2008 showed huge eruptions near the sun's equator.  There eruptions suggest a barycenter of disturbance from an object more massive than Jupiter.  Could this be the start of the Galaxy's effects on the sun?
       Scientists have realized that when Jupiter and Saturn are aligned on the same side of the sun, the solar maximum (the period with the most sunspots and flares) is at its weakest.  When they're on opposite sides of the sun, the solar maximum is at its strongest.  The positions of the two planets on doomsday are ideal for extreme solar activity because it is the solar maximum of that cycle.  In 2001, the last solar cycle was at its maximum.  Most flares are small but even a small one can be dangerous.  In 1989, a flare hit North America frying electric lines, zapping power grids in the US and Canada, and creating large power blackouts.  They can also effect our moods and physical health.  In theory, a large flare impacting Earth could zap the ionosphere (wrecking cell phones, satellites, GPS...) and irradiate the surface killing every living organism it collided with.
     After an unusually long period of of quiet solar activity, some people at NASA concluded that this cycle would be a very quiet cycle.  They are now taking back their previous claims of a quiet cycle now that the activity has sprung up again agreeing with their earlier predictions that it would be a very violent cycle.
         Our solar system is part of the Milky Way which is a huge disc shaped collection of stars and planets.  We are currently located on the edge but on December 21, 2012, we will begin moving to the bottom of this disc.  On the same day the sun will be at its solar maximum, the ecliptic (the great circle formed by the intersection of of the plane of the earth's orbit with the celestial sphere) of our solar system will intersect with the Galactic plane.  This is something that's never happened in thousands of eons of time.  On December 21, 2012, we will be at the Galactic Equator where the galactic gravity is the strongest.  As if that wasn't enough, we will be intersecting with the Galactic Equator precisely aligned with the center of the galaxy where there is maximum mass meaning more gravity.  More gravity will result in more influence from the barycenter in our sun.  This means exponential increases in solar disruptions all on the same day.  December 21, 2012 will be a special day.  It will have the maximum possible influence of solar flares the universe can provide.  Whether all this activity is enough to doom us all is uncertain.
       Throughout the course of history, many prophets have failed to predict doomsday.  Some gave up after failing while others "recalculated" their claims.  This is obviously a very unreliable way to predict the future.  Every two objects exert a gravitational fore and are aligned with each other.  Many dispute doomsday findings because they say we don't know exactly when it started.  How can we know when it will end if we don't even know when it started?  The claims of underground bunkers throughout the world do not in any way suggest the world is coming to an end.  If in fact the events described above really do take place in such magnitude, I believe an underground bunker would not be an adequate source of refuge.  There really isn't much we can do to brace for impact.  If this phenomenon has startled you, live life to your fullest and count each day as a blessing despite its hardships.  This is one thing we will just have to wait and see about.  I personally do not think the world will come to an end in December 2012.  View the products below for more information on Doomsday.
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