Is the End of the World Coming? Not Quite
The world will go on after December 21, 2012, despite what some might claim. Noted archaeoastronomer E. C. Krupp explains the cause of Maya mania in a free download.
The end of the world is coming. Or so 1 in 10 people might tell you, according to an international poll conducted by Ipsos Global Public Affairs. In fact, 1 in 7 people worldwide believe the world will end during their lifetime, and it seems most of these people are buying into the much-publicized calamity that ancient Maya calendars supposedly predict for December 21, 2012. The hysteria seems to be hitting some parts of the world harder than others.
In reality, of course, the world is in very little danger of ending on December 21st or any other day soon. But even if you already know this, chances are, you know someone else who doesn't.
Here's what you can tell them: December 21, 2012, really is a big flip-the-page date in the ancient Maya calendar — but they didn't believe the world would end then. And all the planetary and galactic lineups that doom-mongers are trying to associate with that date are flat-out wrong.
Back in 2009, when the movie "2012" came out, we did our part at Sky & Telescope to counter the hysteria. Noted archaeoastronomer E. C. Krupp explained all the details and history of the Maya mania in the November 2009 issue of Sky & Telescope. Download Krupp's article (PDF) and share with friends, family, and whoever else might need to hear it.
In the same issue, S&T editor-in-chief Robert Naeye wrote about cosmic disasters that actually could happen — but aren't likely to anytime soon. It makes for a fun read if you're tired of hearing about fake Maya prophecies. Download Naeye's article (PDF) and share it wisely.