The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington

UTA Planetarium

UTA Planetarium

Ask the Astronomer Q&A

Tag: "2012"

  • Are there any threats to the Earth in 2012? Many Internet websites say the world will end in December 2012?
  • Nothing bad will happen to the Earth in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012.

    (Tags:  2012  apocalypse)
  • Could phenomena occur where planets align in a way that impacts Earth?
  • There are no planetary alignments in the next few decades, Earth will not cross the galactic plane in 2012, and even if these alignments were to occur, their effects on the Earth would be negligible. Each December the Earth and Sun align with the approximate center of the Milky Way Galaxy but that is an annual event of no consequence.

    (Tags:  2012  apocalypse  black hole  earth  gravity  milkyway galaxy)
  • Does the Mayan calendar end in December 2012?
  • Just because the calendar on your kitchen wall ends on December 31, doesn't mean that time doesn't exist after that. The same holds true for the Mayan calendar which does not end on December 21, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period but then -- just as your calendar begins again on January 1 -- another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar.

    (Tags:  2012  mayan culture)
  • How do scientists feel about claims of pending doomsday?
  • There is no evidence for any of the assertions made in books, movies, documentaries, or over the Internet, in support of unusual events taking place in December 2012.

    (Tags:  2012  apocalypse)
  • Is the Earth in danger of being hit by a meteor in 2012?
  • The Earth has always been subject to impacts by comets and asteroids, although big hits are very rare. The last big impact was 65 million years ago, and that MAY have led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Nothing is predicted to hit in 2012.

    (Tags:  2012  apocalypse  asteroid  dinosaurs  earth  extinction  meteor)
  • Is the earth really going to end in 2012?
  • No, the Earth will not end in 2012. This is another hoax that has spread due to popular media. According to the hoax, the Earth will end on December 21st, 2012; the "last day" on the Mayan calendar. This however, is not the last day of the Mayan calendar, but the last day of the millenium, according to the Mayan calendar. On December 22nd, 2012, the Mayan Calendar will start over with a new millenium. Many of you may remember a similar hoax, Y2K, about 10 years ago, which also said that the world would end. These hoaxes have a tendency to spring up every few years, and there is never any truth to them. You can read more theories about the ending of 2012 on our articles page.

    (Tags:  2012  apocalypse  earth  mayan culture)
  • Is there a danger from giant Solar storms predicted for 2012?
  • Solar activity has a regular cycle, with peaks approximately every 11 years. Near these activity peaks, Solar flares can cause some interruption of satellite communications, although engineers are learning how to build electronics that are protected against most Solar storms. But there is no special risk associated with 2012. The next Solar maximum will occur in the 2012-2014 time-frame and is predicted to be an average Solar cycle, no different than previous cycles throughout history.

    (Tags:  2012  apocalypse  earth  sun)
  • Is there a planet Nibiru which is reported to come close to Earth on 12 December 2012?
  • No, there is no such planet Nibiru. Nibiru is also often called Planet X. According to hoaxists, Nibiru is a planet that was discovered by the Mayans that will collide with the Earth on December 21st, 2012. This is just one of the "theories" about the world ending in 2012. The truth is, the Mayans knew of no such planet. Although they were very skilled at tracking the motions of the planets, Sun and Moon, they did not know what the planets were. They would have only been able to see the 5 naked eye planets; Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Telescopes had not yet been discovered. If there is a planet called Nibiru it would have to be very large or very close to Earth in order for the Mayans to see it. And if it is very large or very close, then you and I would be able to see it today. If it were on a collision course with Earth, it would get brighter and brighter until we could even see it in the daylight. But of course, we can't, because it doesn't exist. Rest easy tonight, the world will continue well past the year 2012.

    (Tags:  2012  apocalypse  earth  mayan culture  nibiru  planet)
  • Is there a planet or brown dwarf called Nibiru or Planet X that is approaching the Earth and threatening our planet with widespread destruction?
  • Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an Internet hoax. If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth in 2012, astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye. Obviously, they do not exist.

    (Tags:  2012  apocalypse  nibiru)
  • Isn't it possible that other planets rotate in and out of our solar system on longer cycles in elliptical orbits. E.G. Nibiru at 3,600 year cycles that our current civilization has not observed?
  • Although it is theoretically possible that more planets exist in our solar system that we have not detected, it is very unlikely. Everything in the universe has gravity, and this gravity effects everything in the universe. The closer 2 objects are to each other, the more their gravity effects surrounding objects. The same is true for large objects. The larger the object, the more gravity will effect surround objects. These effects are measurable by astronomers, even outside our own solar system. Astronomers have used this technique to find hundreds of planets in orbit around other stars. Since we have never seen any gravitational interaction on our Sun or the planets in our solar system, astronomers believe there are not any very large planets beyond the orbit of Pluto.

    (Tags:  2012  gravity  nibiru  physics  planet  pluto  solar system  sun)
  • There is an apocalypse that the world is going to end in 2012 which has been supported by astrophysical theories. Is that so? Or do the scientists believe the world will end based on Biblical beliefs?
  • No scientist has predicted an apocalypse for 2012. This is an internet hoax that has been going on for years. It is based on the belief that the Mayans "predicted" the world ending on December 21st, 2012, the end of the calendar. But just as the world doesn't end on December 31st each year when our calendar ends, the world will not end when the Mayan calendar ends - it will simply start a new cycle. There are many more articles about the apocalpyse, 2012, Nibiru and other related topics on this page and many NASA sites. We encourage everyone to read up on it.

    (Tags:  2012  apocalypse  earth  mayan culture  nibiru)
  • There's so much talk about the alignment of the earth and sun on 12-21-2012...But what about the other planets in the same alignment? Do solar flares affect other planets when they align with the sun and the blackhole?
  • We’ve answered the first half of the question before. There are no planetary alignments in the next few decades, Earth will not cross the galactic plane in 2012, and even if these alignments were to occur, their effects on the Earth would be negligible. Each December the Earth and Sun align with the approximate center of the Milky Way Galaxy but that is an annual event of no consequence. The black hole at the center of the galaxy is over 26,000 light years away (meaning it would take 26,000 years to reach it if you were travelling at 186,000 miles per second!) This is incredibly far away, so it’s effects are not noticeable to us. Solar flares are not at all related to the black hole at the center of the galaxy. Solar flares are a natural occurrence on all stars. The number of flares and sunspots seen on the Sun changes on an 11 year cycle. Currently we are nearing a solar maximum, meaning there is an increase in solar activity including flares. The effects of these flares are seen on the other planets too. NASA has many pictures of auroral displays on Jupiter and Saturn.

    (Tags:  2012  apocalypse  black hole  milkyway galaxy  planet  solar system  star  sun)
  • What is the origin of the prediction that the world will end in 2012?
  • The story started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed toward Earth. This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012. Then these two fables were linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012 -- hence the predicted doomsday date of December 21, 2012.

    (Tags:  2012  mayan culture  nibiru)