Mayan angst will not save you

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You will still have to buy Christmas presents this year – the world will not end on December 21 as widely speculated.

So says Case Rijsdijk, a Cape Town astronomy communicator, who dismisses the stories being circulated as “myths and rubbish”.

There are various reasons being bandied about for the world ending, he says, and all of them can be summarily dismissed as they are easily disproved through scientific means.

Rijsdijk explodes the theory that an asteroid, named Nibiru, a rogue planet said to have been discovered by the ancient Sumerians, will crash into Earth on December 21, killing everyone. He says no such planet exists.

“They did not have telescopes in those days and would only have been able to see it with the naked eye… If it did exist, we would have been able to see it coming, he says.

The alignment of the planets is another conspiracy theory, he adds.

“Even if they do align, nothing will happen to Earth. They are not due to align on December 21 anyway,” Rijsdijk says.

The third theory, that “magnetic poles will be flipping, producing violent hurricanes and the loss of all electronic communication systems, is said to be “a process which takes 5 000 years to happen, so we will not be around even if it has already started happening”, he says.

Another theory doing the rounds is that the solar system will be heating up. Rijsdijk says the sun’s cycle changes every 11 years – it heats up and then dies down. Currently, the sun’s heat is at the lowest it has been for the past 100 years, so solar activities are lower than usual. The Earth will not burn up, Rijsdijk assures.

The theory about the Mayan calendar is also rubbish, he says. The ancient Mayans believed that a lengthy cycle, known as the Long Count, would come to a close on December 21, 2012.

 

According to historians it has been estimated that the system, which is made up of 394-year periods called baktuns, started counting in 3114BC, and will have run through 13 baktuns, or 5 125 years, around December 21. But Rijsdijk says the calendar, like the odometer of a car, will simply start all over again, with no effect. “The Mayan calendar was used to try to predict floods, and it was changed at will for political purposes,” he notes.

Nasa agrees with Rijsdijk, and is so confident that the apocalypse will not happen that it has released a video 10 days ahead of schedule entitled Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, Nasa outlines, point by point, each of the myths that surround the end of the Mayan calendar with astronomical and planetary experts debunking any notions that the sun will irradiate the atmosphere or that a rogue planet will smash into ours.

- The Star


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