Debunking Doomsday 2012: Planetary Alignment Theory

Here's a nice view of the solar system as it should look on Dec. 21, 2012. View from Pluto [Screen Shot: Solar Walk 3D for iPad App in Orrery Mode] Click to Upscaleify

Here’s a nice view of the solar system as it should look on Dec. 21, 2012 (not the date in top right corner). Notice none of the planets are aligned; Some aren’t even on-screen. View from Pluto in Orrery Mode. Click to Upscaleify [Screen Shot: Solar Walk 3D for iPad App]

No matter what the date or the state of the cosmos, there always seems to be at least one theory about how the “end is nigh”. These theories always make me laugh a bit, as I have seen many of these “doomsday predictions” come and go in the relatively short time that I have had on the Earth. I remember the Halley’s Comet people who believed the comet (which has a very predictable orbit and can be seen gracing our skies every 75ish years) was being followed by a race of aliens that were going to rain down destruction, in some form, on the Earth and take the few believers away with them. When Halley’s Comet was overhead in 1986, this group of people (known as the “Heaven’s Gate” cult or “bugfuck crazy” people) committed suicide simultaneously in hopes that the aliens would save their mortal souls. I also remember the doom criers of 09.09.1999 and 01.01.2000, as well. I know I’m skipping over a bunch here, but I want to speak on the upcoming doomsday scenarios on 12.21.2012. It should be noted that if you happen to believe in any of these scenarios, this post is not an attempt to assuage your beliefs. There are plenty of people who are unaware of the scientific proof debunking these myths and are unsure as to what the facts are surrounding these theories. This article is meant for those people. I am fully aware that some people can not/will not be convinced that these theories are completely unfounded, but, to be honest, those people aren’t interested in the science anyway as the persistence of belief that these theories are real is proof that these same people have chosen to either ignore the science or haven’t been introduced to it. I’ve heard several theories about the upcoming end of the world. I’ve done one post about solar flares and coronal mass ejections hitting the Earth (Click Here for that Article) and I plan to do a couple more posts about a couple more theories. This post has to do with the Planetary Alignment theory.

To start, let’s go over just what this theory entails, in case this is the first you’re hearing about it. Some people claim that on Dec. 21st, 2012 all of the 8 planets in our solar system are going to fall in line with each other. Some claim that this is going to cause a catastrophic event that will wipe out all life on the Earth. The way all life will be wiped out is unclear to me, as only one of the theories I have seen would have anything to do with such an alignment. The one that I did see, said something about how Earth would have the gravitational forces of the supermassive  Black Hole that is located at the center of our galaxy (the Milky Way), the Sun and the planets Mercury and Venus pulling on one side of the Earth, and the gravitational forces of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune (four of these planets being gas giants that are the largest planets in our system) pulling on the other side of the Earth, then the Earth would be ripped apart. This is, of course, inaccurate.

Here's a view of the solar system as it should be on 12.21.12. Those planets don't seem to be aligned... View from Earth in Orrery mode. Click to Enlarginate [

Here’s a view of the solar system as it should be on 12.21.12. Those planets don’t seem to be aligned… View from Earth in Orrery mode. Click to Enlarginate [Screen Shot: Solar Walk 3D for iPad App]

It does have a nice sciencey ring to it though, huh? This is probably why pseudo/anti-science claims, such as these, tend to get so much traction. It SOUNDS all sciencey, but many people don’t bother to look the facts up. *NOTE* That theory was the best I’ve heard about how a planetary alignment would destroy Earth… it still isn’t true.

I know it’s not true. Simply Googling around to some credible sites on the web will yield that result. I’ve stated before that I am, by no means, a scientist. I do have access to the science that was done by scientists, however, and a reasonable amount of faculties to be able to decipher between good and bad info. There are, actually, a couple of reasons why I know this theory of a planetary alignment pulling the Earth apart (or any of the other theories, for that matter) is false. One of the reasons is a common sense reason and the other is all sciencey.

Common Sense:
The solar system formed over 4.5 billion years ago. Our solar system has seen some changes since then, but the solar system, in its current state, has existed for ~4 billion years. Doesn’t it stand to reason that this sort of alignment has probably happened in the past? Sure, alignments such as these (also referred to as conjunctions) are fairly rare, but it makes good sense that these sorts of things have happened before. That being the case, isn’t Earth still here? Once you conclude that you are on the planet Earth and that the Earth has not been destroyed by some sort of planetary conjunction that happened millions of years ago, it is fairly safe to assume that Earth would be fine if it were to happen again.

Science:
We observe planets on a regular basis. By watching a planet go through part of its orbit and seeing what the gravitational effects of other gravitational sources in the solar system may be on that planet, you can, with a great deal of accuracy, predict the future orbit of those stellar bodies. Well… Scientists can, anyway. I’ve done a little bit of fact checking on the topic of planetary conjunctions and, according to credible websites that I’ve been perusing and some renderings by a couple of different iPad apps, this planetary conjunction theory gets WAY more interesting! As it turns out, there’s not going to be an alignment of ANY of the planets of our solar system that day! There will be an alignment between the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, our Sun and Earth that day, however… Because that happens every Dec. 21, 2012! That the day of the winter solstice… It happens every year! That same exact alignment has actually occurred over 4 billion times and nothing has happened each time! Do you honestly think that it would be different this time just because the “Mayans said so”? That argument sounds a little too much like religion for my liking.

This blog post has plenty of science backing it, since the article is based on scientific findings. I encourage you to do the research for yourself with credible sources. I am not trying to get my readers to blindly follow anything I say. The science is out there, look it up if you choose. Here’s the Question of the Day: Are you afraid that the world may actually end on Dec. 21, 2012? If so, how will it end?

Feel free to leave your comments/suggestions/questions in the comments section below and don’t forget to share this post wherever you like to share things that you like (there’s a few buttons at the bottom to help with that). Should you be interested in more stuff like this, you can always subscribe to my RSS Feed, “Friend” me on Facebook, “Follow” me on Twitter or “Circle” me on Google+!

NASA Recently Posted About These Doomsday Scenarios. Read Them Here

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About Alloy Matt

Happy Husband | Beardsman | Blogger | Dreamer | Wholigan | Drinker of Coffees | Tweeter of Hashtags | Gamer of Table Tops | Amature Astronomer | Fanboy of Apple

Posted on December 10, 2012, in Doomsday2012, Geek, iOS Apps, iPad, My Nerdography, Nerd, Science, Space and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I think the people will destroy the world before any galactic tragety 😉

    • I agree with your statement. In fact, Stephen Hawking himself has said as much… And he is, arguably, the smartest man in the world. Thanx for commenting and I hope you enjoyed the article! 🙂

  2. There is simply no scientific evidence for this “galactic alignment” says Reinhard Genzel, an astrophysicist at Germany ’s Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching.

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