What is the Galactic Alignment?

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  • #1
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I know it only happens every 26,000 years, and the sun lines up with the center of the milky way, but is this real or not? And i know it has something to do with the 2012 phenomenon?
 

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  • #2
Integral
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the sun lines up with the center of the milky way
Lines up with what? On virtually any day any time you can draw a line between the sun and the center of the galaxy, we need a third point for this to make any sense at all.

Personally I think this is all nonsense. Please find better sources for your information.
 
  • #3
nicksauce
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The only "2012 phenomenon" is the phenomenon of how so many people can believe something so stupid.
 
  • #4
russ_watters
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Lines up with what? On virtually any day any time you can draw a line between the sun and the center of the galaxy, we need a third point for this to make any sense at all.

Personally I think this is all nonsense. Please find better sources for your information.
I think the third point would have to be earth, but yes, it is all nonsense. The 26,000 years is earth's precession - it has nothing to do with any alignment of the earth, sun and galactic center, which is a pretty meaningless thing.
 
  • #5
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I think the 'alignment' you might be thinking of is that in theory the sun will eventually pass through the central plane of the milky way (goes from the bottom half to the top half, or the top to bottom, whichever you prefer). I heard a rumor once that this will happen in 2012, thus causing some huge calamity for whatever reason. Something about the earth flipping over or another equally ridiculous and unfounded concept. Even if this alignment were to happen in 2012, which is rather unlikely, nothing will happen so I certainly wouldn't worry about it. And while you're at it I would ignore any stories about 2012 disaster
 
  • #6
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What is the Galactic Alignment?

Lawful evil.
 
  • #7
Chronos
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Alignment with what? The milky way does not have a well defined 'plane' of rotation. We are in a spiral arm of the milky way and pretty much in the 'galactic plane' at all times.
 
  • #8
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Can this be when earth, the sun, and the center of the Milky Way are in a straight line? I'm curious, if the main mass of the galaxy and the sun are in virtually the same direction as viewed from the earth, would that have any effect on the net gravitational force the earth experiences? How about if not only those three but some of the large gas giants are also along this straight line to the center, how would that affect the gravitational force? For example, from farthest to closest, along a straight line, we would have, the center of the milky way, Saturn, Jupiter, the sun, and then the earth, all in approximately the same line.
 
  • #9
Integral
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Twice a year the earth, the sun, and the galactic center will fall on a line. Why is this special? It has been happening for millennia upon millennia, so far there has been no measurable effect, why worry about it or even waste time discussing it?
 
  • #10
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... why worry about it or even waste time discussing it?
Although I'm a one post noob, and you're a venerated member of the PF community, I have to say your attitude isn't very cool. Instead of wasting the thirty seconds it took you to point out that you were wasting time, you could have ignored the post altogether, OR you could have used google.

http://alignment2012.com/whatisga.htm

That's literally the first thing that comes up for me in google. It references actual astronomy. The accuracy of the source is always up for debate. This is a great place for sorting that kind of thing out.

And yes, it's meaningless. But it's meaningless the same way any observation of nature is meaningless...
 
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  • #11
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The only "2012 phenomenon" is the phenomenon of how so many people can believe something so stupid.
+1. all these 2012 documentaries have crackpot authors on them as experts, no scientist in any field of any kind.
 
  • #12
russ_watters
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Although I'm a one post noob, and you're a venerated member of the PF community, I have to say your attitude isn't very cool. Instead of wasting the thirty seconds it took you to point out that you were wasting time, you could have ignored the post altogether, OR you could have used google.

http://alignment2012.com/whatisga.htm

That's literally the first thing that comes up for me in google. It references actual astronomy. The accuracy of the source is always up for debate. This is a great place for sorting that kind of thing out.

And yes, it's meaningless. But it's meaningless the same way any observation of nature is meaningless...
That's more meaningless than any observation of nature, as just about everything said in it is completely factually wrong.
 
  • #13
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I'm disappointed in Integral's reply as well. He should have handled it better. I suspect though the Mayan calendar is getting mixed up with actual celestial alignments in this thread. Perhaps we should distinguish the two.
 
  • #14
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You might be onto something there jackmell. I didn't take the original post to be of the we're all going to die in 2012 variety. Hahaha. Maybe I missed something.

Yes, there are lots of crackpot 2012 theories. I don't think anyone would dispute that. Somebody asked a question that seemed to me to be perfectly reasonable and got a pretty harsh (in my opinion) reaction.

Yes, questions you think have obvious answers may be annoying. Unfortunately, learning is a process. Most of us have to ask questions, even "stupid" questions, somewhere along that path.

Actually russ_watters, I was trying to imply that observations of nature are critical to science. Although I suppose observations that neither lead to further understanding nor look "cool" might be considered meaningless.

Maybe you could lead us to a more accurate site? Perhaps you might point out some of the major errors in the link I posted previously? You don't need to be exhaustive, just the big mistakes would be helpful. Thanks in advance
 
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  • #15
russ_watters
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You might be onto something there jackmell. I didn't take the original post to be of the we're all going to die in 2012 variety. Hahaha. Maybe I missed something.
Speaking for myself, I have never seen a reference to a "galactic alignment" that wasn't motivated in some way by 2012 crackpottery. The concept simply has no meaning to real astronomers. As such:
Maybe you could lead us to a more accurate site?
There aren't any. It is like asking for an accurate site discussing the moon hoax.
Perhaps you might point out some of the major errors in the link I posted previously?
Ehh - I misread the main point. That author presents the issue differently than most I've seen. Rather than talking about an alignment with the galactic center, as is typically proposed (and what the OP says), he's talking about an alignment with the galactic plane. In any case, several problems:

1. He fudged the year.
2. The galactic plane is not well defined.
3. It is not generally accepted that the Mayan calendar is tied to this "alignment".
 
  • #16
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Thanks russ_watters. I'll never trust the first thing google shows me again! (jk)

An accurate site about the moon hoax would be one debunking it. Thinking about this lead me to http://www.2012hoax.org/. There are four different versions of galactic alignment that get shot down. The site seems pretty well researched.

I'd say the Mayans were real astronomers. They choose 2012 for some reason or another. It could have been a completely random choice. I don't really know enough about it to speculate. There will definitely be something cool to see in 2012. There's something interesting in the sky every night... if the seeing is good.
 
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  • #17
this is a simple one
 
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  • #18
Chronos
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In defense of Integral, he was trying to address a point that is superficially interesting, but scientifically moot. Understanding the difference is worth mentioning. Our galaxy does not have a well defined 'equator', and our solar system is aligned on that putative plane all the time. It's all astrology to me. The 2012 alignment is based strictly on the earth-sun alignment with a weakly defined galactic plane. That, at best, is a geocentric coincidence. It sounds very important if you assume earth is the center of the universe.
 
  • #19
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In defense of Integral, he was trying to address a point that is superficially interesting, but scientifically moot. Understanding the difference is worth mentioning. Our galaxy does not have a well defined 'equator', and our solar system is aligned on that putative plane all the time. It's all astrology to me. The 2012 alignment is based strictly on the earth-sun alignment with a weakly defined galactic plane. That, at best, is a geocentric coincidence. It sounds very important if you assume earth is the center of the universe.
I think you're being too hard on us Chronos. I don't believe in Astrology or the 2012 thing. I'm 100% Astronomy and I believe celestial alignments can be interesting in their own right. Surely lunar and solar eclipses are interesting. The transit of Venus is interesting. The various Milankovitch cycles are very interesting to name a few. I think it's a little harsh for you to imply just because we find alignments interesting we think the earth is the center of the Universe.
 
  • #20
russ_watters
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Not all alignments are created equal: if you go outside during an eclipse you can't help but notice. This alignment has so little astronomical significance that I've never heard an astronomer or physicist express interest in it. Every reference to it that I have ever heard is based on the 2012 doomsday crackpottery - including this one.
 
  • #21
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Not all alignments are created equal: if you go outside during an eclipse you can't help but notice.
I did and it was marvelous! The year was about well, I don't remember exactly, say 1980 or so. I didnt' know before that day the shadow of a solar eclipse was passing not far from my home. We went to a place I thought other would be and sure enough hundreds were there with their telescopes. It was around noon, it got (relatively) dark, streetlight came on, the birds started making noise, everyone was so excited and happy to share their scopes for a look see. Yeah, I really liked it. :)
 
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  • #22
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Thanks russ_watters. I'll never trust the first thing google shows me again! (jk)
I'd say the Mayans were real astronomers. They choose 2012 for some reason or another. It could have been a completely random choice. I don't really know enough about it to speculate. There will definitely be something cool to see in 2012. There's something interesting in the sky every night... if the seeing is good.
From my understanding I don't think the Mayan's had any specific design on the year 2012. Their calendar will continue on counting the days just like any other. When a month ends you just flip the page for a new month. Being that the calendar is based upon astronomical observation, something had to line up some point. And as it so happens Hollywood, or someone, crunched the numbers for a possible doomsday storyline they could sell. Just my thoughts.
 
  • #23
Chronos
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My point is any such alignment requires 3 points - a galactic plane, earth and the sun. Even assuming a galactic 'plane' [which is very ill defined], what makes an earth-sun alignment 'special' without conferring earth a 'priveleged' position in the universe? Apparently, no one has noticed all other planets in the solar system routinely achieve this same 'rare' alignment.
 

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