With the recent events with black birds and drum fish in Arkansas, I thought it might be time to visit the notion of the end of the world happening on December 21, 2012. Yep the winter solstice this year was awesome with a total lunar eclipse. Does good old Earth plan to upstage that spectacle with something of its own next year? Personally I have my doubts, but then I have always been a bit of a pessimist. So, before the furor really begins (oh how I remember the doom and gloom leading up to Y2K), lets take a look at the five popular ways people are thinking the world is gonna dump its human cargo.
- An asteroid smacks into the Earth: This one has been kicked around a lot over the years. In December of 2004 a 900ft wide chunk on rock called Apophis captured our attention as it was given a pretty high chance of smacking into the Earth (a 2.7% chance to be exact). However, this thing passed quietly enough into the night and while we keep our eye on its orbit doesn’t seem it will be the one to get us. As far as any other rocks out there. Well to quote the move Armageddon “…It’s a big ass sky…”, and I am sure the possibility exists for something to come sneaking up on us, after all it’s been a good while since we took a major hit in the cosmic pinball arcade.
- The Earth’s magnetic field will reverse: Again, this has happened thousands of times in the course of the existence of humans on this planet. There is no evidence to suggest that such an occurrence would cause the end of humanity. In fact there is no evidence to suggest that such a change in field affects us at all really.
- Solar Flares: You hear about this one a lot. Yes it is true that the Sun has been quiet a lot longer than usual, and that this period’s activity when it finally ramps up is expected to be a bit higher than average. That being said, the largest solar flare in modern times occurred on November 4th, 2003. It splashed the Earth with x-ray radiation equivalent to 5000 suns. I’m typing this now, so I am guessing we made it through that one, and I am sure there is no ticking blow torch bomb out there waiting to toast us like a marshmallow.
- The Earth is gonna tip on its axis: The Earth is held in a relatively stable axis because of the near proximity of the moon. It would take a body the size of Mars to hit us with enough force to knock us off our axis. Since the universe cleaned out protoplanets of that size over four billion years ago, my guess is that the neighborhood is reasonably safe.
- A planetary alignment with Jupiter and Saturn will devastate the Earth gravitationally: That’s right these two planets are the big bruisers of the solar system. We little planets pale in comparison to their size and the gravitational affect on their local area of space. This one is also laughable as well because the two planets are too far away from us to affect things here on little old Earth. It’s all about location, location, location. Now if something were to happen to our Moon…well now there is food for thought.
There you have it. Five of the thousands of theories out there that could happen to us. You know what? I think it is far more likely that we are going to do something stupid to ourselves than any natural occurrence in our lifetime. Let’s hope my tiny prediction is very wrong.