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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/13/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Researchers insist it's just the end of the calendar

It would stand to reason that since the Mayans didn't have a Leap Day on their calendar, and the modern western world does, that purported end-of-the-world predicted by the Mayan calendar would have occurred quite some time ago. Just to be on the safe side, NASA scientists have released a video telling people not to panic as the world edges closer to December 21, 2012, the day the Mayan calendar runs out.

'Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Since the beginning of time there have been literally hundreds of thousands of predictions for the end of the world, and we're still here.'

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Since the beginning of time there have been literally hundreds of thousands of predictions for the end of the world, and we're still here."

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/13/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Maya, doomsday, 2012, NASA, debunking


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Don Yeomans, head of the Near-Earth Objects Program Office at NASA/JPL, insists that a calendar is just a calendar.

"Their calendar does not end on December 21, 2012; it's just the end of the cycle and the beginning of a new one. It's just like on December 31, our calendar comes to an end, but a new calendar begins on January 1," Yeomans says.

Yeomans is also trying to allay fears regarding potential causes of a Mayan apocalypse, such as Nibiru, an imaginary planet that some people think is swinging in from the outer solar system just in time to collide with Earth in December.

"This enormous planet is supposed to be coming toward Earth, but if it were, we would have seen it long ago. And if it were invisible somehow, we would have seen the [gravitational] effects of this planet on neighboring planets. Thousands of astronomers who scan the sky on a daily basis have not seen this," he said.

Yeomans says that there is no possibility of a NASA cover-up. "Can you imagine thousands of astronomers who observe the skies on a daily basis keeping the same secret from the public for several years?"

Do you have any lingering doubts over solar flares? Yeomans says  that these do exist - in fact, two massive solar flares erupted just days ago, sending bursts of solar radiation into space - but they are part of the sun's normal 11-year cycle.

While radiation from solar flares can damage orbiting satellites, but Earth's magnetosphere shields its inhabitants from the blasts, and the flares are not a health concern.

"Then we have planetary alignments," Yeomans said. Some believe the other planets and the sun will align with the Earth in December and cause catastrophic tidal effects.

"Well, first of all, there are no planetary alignments in December of 2012, and even if there were, there are no tidal effects on the Earth as a result. The only two bodies in the solar system that can affect the Earth's tides are the moon, which is very close, and the sun, which is massive and also fairly close. But the other planets have a negligible effect on the Earth."

Invoking the astronomer Carl Sagan's famous maxim, he said: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Since the beginning of time there have been literally hundreds of thousands of predictions for the end of the world, and we're still here."

For the record, the ancient Mayans never predicted the end of the world.

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