Everyone hears about the different prophecies on how humanity will end. From the Bible predictions of the rapture and the Antichrist, to Nostradamus's prediction of the Planet Comet, people hear theories and see evidence of our civilization coming to an end. However, the most striking of these prophecies lies in the predictions of an ancient, but highly sophisticated Mayan calender. The deciphering and understanding of the calender is whole other story in it's own, so I'll get straight to the point.
The Mayan calender is actually a combination of 3 calenders. The religious calender, the solar calender, and the Long Count. For the sake of this discussion, i wont get into detail about the whole calender and just stick to the Long Count. The Long Count can record any day in history because it is supposedly the measure of days from the beginning of humanity to the end.
The number system used for the Long Count is completely different than our decimal, 10 based number system. Instead, the Mayans used 5 sets of numbers separated with a decimal. A typical Long Count number would look like this:
The first day of the Long Count is labeled 0.0.0.0.1 which is the equivalent to August 11th, 3114 BC. on our current Gregorian Calender. The Long Count calender ends at 184.108.40.206.20 which is the equivalent to December 21, 2012. Now this doesn't necessarily mean that humanity will come to an end on this date, but it is the date when the calender ends.
But who cares what an ancient civilization thinks? They didn't have any of the scientific knowledge, nor did they have any of the technology that we have now. Why should we be worried? Let's look at this date from a scientific point of view.
First of all, every 11 years our Sun goes through what's called a solar cycle (pole shift, magnetic reversal). During the peak time of the cycle, the Sun's magnetic poles switch. The magnetic field of the Sun does a 180. But remember, this is a 180 degree magnetic flip. The physical part of Sun doesn't actually flip. Anyway, during the peak time of this "flip" sunspots and solar flares become more frequent. This is what's called the "solar maximum".
"Solar flares are pieces of the sun which leap into space, discharging radiation and strong electrical currents that travel outward into space. They often fall back to the surface of the Sun. Sometimes, a very strong flare, called a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), actually leaves the Sun and this deadly mass shoots out from the Sun towards the planets like a bullet. They usually don't hit anything, but they occasionally hit a planet like Earth. Most flares are small, but even a small flares can be dangerous. In 1989 a flare hit the North American continent and fried electric lines, zapped power grids in the US and Canada, and created large power blackouts. Flares can also effect our moods and physical health. In theory, a large flare impacting the Earth could zap the ionosphere and irradiate the surface, killing every living organism that it touched."
During early 2001, the Sun's solar cycle was completed and the Sun switched magnetic poles, so the Sun is due for another cycle in the year 2012.
Well, who cares if the Sun flips again? it flips every 11 years so why should should the next flip be any different?
The solar cycle of 2012 is more significant than any other for several reasons:
1. During this time the two biggest planets in our solar system, Saturn and Jupiter, will be in line with each other. The gravitational effects of the two planets on the Sun will cause it to wobble during it's pole shift. This can have huge effects on the magnitude of the CME's the Sun will be tossing into space. The Earth regularly gets hit with small CME's and research says that the increased magnitude of these CME's are one of the major causes of global warming, and changes in the ecosystem.
2. Right now the Sun's south magnetic pole is in line with the Earth's north magnetic pole. Since opposites attract, the Sun, along with it's gravitational influence from Saturn and Jupiter, may cause the Earth to switch magnetic poles too! With the magnetic field of the Earth switching in a matter of minutes, there can be huge disruptions in the Earth's geological and ecological system. It can cause mass earthquakes and volcano eruptions all over the world. After it's all done, compasses will point South, the Sun will rise in the West and set in the East. But remember, this is a magnetic switch only.
3. The most far fetched possibility and probably the most catastrophic is the phenomenon called "polar wander". Polar wander is a result of the Earth's outer crust shifting at a rapid rate. The magnetic poles stay put but Antarctica becomes the equator and the tropics become the North Pole. I really don't have to stress why a polar wander could be catastrophic because if you picture a phenomenon like this happening in a matter of minutes, you can understand why. There is evidence of a polar wander occurring before in the distant past due to the fossils of Coral in Greenland and Woolly Mammoth bones found in Central America. Of course, in order for a polar wander to occur, it would take a huge amount of imbalance, like an asteroid collision, in the Earth to trigger it.
4. The final event that will occur on December 21, 2012 will be at 11:12 GMT. It's a phenomenon that the Mayans referred to as the "Sacred Tree" and it happens every 25,800 years. At that time our Sun will line up directly with the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. For thousands of years, our solar system has been hovering around the top of the galactic plane and this galactic alignment could have huge effects on our solar system.
"The ecliptic cross over the Milky Way at a 60 degree angle near the constellation Sagittarius. As such, it forms a cross with the Milky Way, and this cosmic cross was called the Sacred Tree by the ancient Maya. (The cross form was also known as the "crossroads." Amazingly, the center of this cosmic cross, that is right where the ecliptic crosses over the Milky Way is exactly where the December solstice sun will be in A.D. 2012. This alignment occurs only once every 25,800 years."
There is supposedly a black hole in the middle of the Milky Way holding everything together. Our solar system is around the outer edge of the disc. When our solar system lines up with center of the galaxy, we will be at the strongest part of the galaxy's magnetic field where there is maximum gravitation. So, with the Sun's solar cycle being at it's maximum, the alignment of Saturn and Jupiter, and the alignment of the sun with the equator of the Milky Way, this will REALLY cause an increase in the magnitude of the Sun's solar flares. Of course the gravitational complexities will also have an influence on whether or not the Earth will undergo a magnetic pole shift. There is also speculation that the Earth may reverse its rotation since we'll be in the opposite hemisphere of the galaxy!
"According to the Mayas, the center of the Galaxy is the cosmic womb; The place of dead, transformation, regeneration and rebirth. This moment shows the end of their calendar."
There are a lot of questions that will be answered in the year 2012. Although the Mayan calender has a mystery on a specific date, some of the scientific complexities will gradually become observable. Depletion of the ozone, increase in volcanic activity, and changes in weather patterns are all natural results of some of the events explained. However, whether or not the Mayans had some sort of insight into the future will remain a mystery.
By Richard Lowe