Astromony and 2012

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Hi all.

Just got back from watching the new Indiana Jones film and got curious about the Mayan culture so been doing some reading on the internet about it.

The mayan calendar supposedly ends in 2012 but i'm not reading anything into that I'm just interested that some web site claim that 2012 (21st December to be precise) is also when the 'winter solstice is aligned with the Milky Way'.

Two questions.

What does this mean and how often does it occur? Some web sites claim it will be so significant it will cause Pole Shifts and catastrophic events. Will it?

Thanks all.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
russ_watters
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We've discussed this many times before (perhaps we should sticky it?). Check out my last post in this thread: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=208935&highlight=2012

The short of it is that no, we are not crossing the galactic plane, but on Dec 18th of every year, we come within a few degrees of that alignment. The sun's position relative to the fixed stars moves around the ecliptic, covering the Zodiac constellations every year. The sun is in the constellation Sagittarius in December - the galactic center is in the direction of Sagittarius. But that alignment is only very close to perfect when the earth is on the galactic plane. Currently, it is off by about 5.5 degrees.

Also, the magnatic field of the earth currently appears to be collapsing and the magnetic poles are expected to flip --- sometime in the next several thousand years: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2152-anomalies-hint-at-magnetic-pole-flip.html
 
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  • #3
Chronos
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Most scholars do not agree the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world in 2012. Phil Plait [BAUT], for example, has asserted that the Mayan calendar marks the beginning of a new cycle in 2012 - likening it to rolling over the odometer in your car.
 
  • #4
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I saw the new Indiana Jones as well, pretty wild.

Also, the magnatic field of the earth currently appears to be collapsing and the magnetic poles are expected to flip --- sometime in the next several thousand years:
I am reading a non fiction novel right now, "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson outlining the history of pretty much all sciences, Physics, Chem, Bio, Geoology, the origin of the universe. Anyways the novel states that the strength of the magnetic poles seems to be weakening currently for an unknown reason. Possibly becayuse they may be in a transitional period possibly reversing in a few thousand years just like Russ said above. Interesting.

Without reviewing, I dont recall if it outlined any of the effects a pole reversal would have on earth, im not really worried about it right now. haha

According to wikipedia the last reversal was theorized to happen around 780,000 thousand years ago however, another similar article stated it was estimated at 730,000 years ago.

another article on geomagnetism says reversals take place every 700,000 years and in recent geological times it poles have reversed on an average of 200,000 years. It seems we are due for a reversal, maybe the mayan calendar will be correct! :rofl:

I have still not hit 12 posts with my new acount so i cannot post links to the articles if this thread is still going when I hit 12 I will post them.
 
  • #5
Neil Degrasse Tyson, of the Natural History Museum, describes this "phenomenon" in a very funny way:

rest assured, "the earth will be here before, during, and after 2012"

 
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  • #6
It is so interesting to go straight from the world of pop culture and media in to the world of science when it comes to this Mayan prediction or theory as we would call it. There are a lot of scientific dangers to the planet, but we need to be realistic when thinking about this global phenomenon. If you guys made a prediction right now as to what happens in 2012 (physical, social, scientific, whatever), what would it be?
 
  • #7
russ_watters
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I'll turn 37. Ugh.
 
  • #8
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I predict the release of the movie "4024".
 
  • #9
Chronos
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I did that about 20 years ago, Russ. Nothing noteworthy aside my birthday cake resembled a neolithic sacrificial bonfire.
 

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