Is 21 December 2012 doomsday?
Attracting increasing interest as it nears it's end-date, is the Mayan calendar. It's abrupt finish on an exact date, and even the exact time of day (sunrise) has some of us a little flustered.
Why would we think 'the end is nigh' just because an ancient calendar fails to extend beyond 21/12/2012?
For a couple of reasons. The calendar has earned it's reputation as a reliable predictor of cosmic events such as eclipses. The event predicted for 2012 is 'the galactic alignment'.
The Galactic Alignment
Jean Meeus has an asteroid named after him, he's that well-respected. The Belgium astronomer writes papers for NASA and, importantly for us, is credited with calculating the galactic alignment.
It goes something like this... the Earth on it's axis does a bit of a wobble, a very slow wobble - in fact just one wobble lasts 26,000 years.
So our angular orientation to the stars can and does change.
Hmmm.. to keep it simple, let's go to your living room. Pick out a CD or DVD and perch it on your hand.
The Milky-Way is the DVD disc
The Dark Rift is the hole in the center
With me so far?
Well please stay with me, I'm off to make some drawings to explain this next part. Please sign up for the RSS feed to get an alert when this page is updated (completed). Or have your say.. just choose between the pessimists and the optimists and contribute to the discussion.