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It’s the End of the World as We Know It, and I Feel Fine

Posted by Kelly on December 3rd, 2012

The Sun Rises over the Earth

The Sun and Earth

…to steal a line from R.E.M. And I do feel fine, but that’s because it isn’t really the end of the world as we know it, contrary to what some hoaxers would have you believe. You may have heard that December 21, 2012, will be the end of life on Earth as we know it, and if so, you’ve heard wrong. The end of the world has been predicted countless times before, and as we all know, it has never come true. Sometimes these scenarios involve astronomical events, which makes them all the easier to debunk. Apocalyptic movies such as Melancholia and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World might help fuel some of these fears, but the baseless doomsday warnings floating around the internet are as fictional as the movies.

One of the reasons purported by charlatans that the world will come to an end is that Earth will come in to some sort of alignment with the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Earth is part of the Milky Way and lies in its plane, about 27,000 light-years from its bulky center. We aren’t close to the center and aren’t headed in that direction, but orbiting about in the arms, just as Saturn orbits about the sun. As for lining up with the center point of the galaxy, scientists believe that we lie above the midline of the galactic plane by dozens of light-years. Even if we were near the center of the galactic plane, no special effects would occur. Earth does cross the galactic equator in December, but this is something that happens twice every year.

Another explanation given for why everything we know will soon cease to exist is that a rogue planet is headed our way and will crash into Earth on December 21. False. However, a rogue planet has recently been discovered, and it is the closest such object known to Earth! This might put a chill down the spine of those prone to conspiracy theories, until you learn a little more of the facts surrounding it. The rogue planet lies 100 light-years distant from us. How far away is that? Well, the closest star system to Earth, Alpha Centauri, (which actually harbors planets of its own), lies just 4.2 light-years away. The newly discovered rogue planet won’t affect Earth in any way.

The only thing that will put a chill down my spine on December 21, 2012, is knowing that the winter solstice occurred that morning and I have to deal with three months of unpleasant weather. It may not be my favorite season, but it’s certainly not the end of the world.

2 people have commented

LIVINGSTONE OSARETIN said,

The world will end one day but humans will not end with it. If it is going to occur now, I have every reason to be afraid but in a million years time? We will be dominating space then and going about it like we are going to shop; relatives will be living in different planets apart and we will be travelling from one galaxy to the other for holiday. If earth is dying then, we will just shift to Mars or somewhere else in Andromeda


Porter said,

Except you should’t be afraid. At all. And chances are theres places within Milky Way still, so we won’t have to go to Andromeda, unless we’ve already collided with it.


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