Mayan Apocalypse Myths: 5 Doomsday Predictions That Won't (Or Will) Happen
By IBTimes Staff Reporter | December 19, 2012 2:26 AM EST
For many who believe the world will end on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, it won't, according to Live Science, which debunked the five popular Mayan apocalypse myths regarding doomsday.
"On Friday, Dec. 21, some say, the Mayan apocalypse will arrive and the world will end. Fortunately, it won't," Live Science writer Stephanie Pappas reported.
"A bold claim, we know, but if it's good enough for NASA, it's good enough for us," she wrote, citing NASA's press release "Why The World Didn't End Yesterday" intended for a Dec. 22 publication.
Pappas explained that apocalypse myths are a result of misinterpreting the ancient Maya Long Count Calendar, namely the b'ak'tun. The b'ak'tun, which ends of 400-year cycle this Dec. 21, is the 13th b'ak'tun of the calendar, which Pappas explained is "a benchmark the Maya would have seen as a full cycle of creation."
However, the word "cycle" is key, she explained, as the Mayans would not believe doomsday theories just because another cycle ended.
"The Maya had a cyclical view of time and would not have seen the end of their calendar cycle as the end of the world," Pappas wrote. "It wasn't until Westerners began reinterpreting the calendar in the past couple decades that it got its apocalyptic overtones."
Pappas goes on to debunk the five popular apocalypse prediction theories and why, despite Internet rumors and hype, none of them will happen this Dec. 21.
1. The Sun
Many predictions involve the Sun, which according to doomsday theories, will kill off the world with solar storms and flares. With the sun in a "maximum activity phase," believers say the intense flares will cause mass devastation. However, NASA said the current solar maximum is the "wimpiest" in history and will not cause any destruction.
2. Earth's Magnetic Poles
Another prediction is that the North and South Poles will change places and completely flip-flop Earth's magnetic field, yielding cosmic radiation. NASA said while the magnetic field does change occasionally, the last swap was 780,000 years ago. While predicting a magnetic flip is nearly impossible, scientists said during one period in history, the poles stayed the way they were for 30 million years.
3. Planet X
Many predict that Planet X, called Nibiru, will collide with Earth and the rogue planet will annihilate life. However, Planet X, which was created by author Zecharia Sitchin in 1976, does not exist. NASA said psychic Nancy Lieder used this theory back in 2003 for that apocalypse, but naturally, that never happened. And scientists said if that prediction was true, Earth dwellers would have seen Planet X in the sky "years ago," similar to the way we see Mars as a "star."
4. Aligning Of Planets
Other theories say the planets will align and will cause the end of the world. However, alignments happened in 1962, 1982 and 2000 and went off without a hitch. NASA said it doesn't predict another planetary alignment in the next few decades, anyway.
5. Total Blackout
A prediction from a popular email chain claims a total Earth blackout will happen on Friday and cause doomsday. Many alleged the blackout will happen when the Sun and the Earth align or when Earth enters a "still ring" called the Photonic Belt. NASA also said this theory is impossible.
To contact the editor, e-mail: