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12/21: End of the World? Scholars, NASA Respond

Find out what the experts are saying about the Dec. 21, 2012, Doomsday prophesies and the end of the Mayan "long-count" calendar.

Don't make any rash decisions: Experts say that 12/21/12 is going to be just another typical winter solstice.

Killer solar flares aren't expected. Another planet isn't on a collision course with ours. And the Mayan "long-count calendar" ending on this date has no real significance. They had to end it somewhere!

What Is All of the Fuss About?

There are a number of theories and predictions that call for Earth's demise on Dec. 21, 2012. They include:

  • The ending of the Mayan calendar. The Mayans, according to a Sarasota Patch article, kept three separate calendars. Their "long calendar" ends on Dec. 21. Some say that this constitutes a Doomsday prediction; many others do not.
  • Nostradamus. That famed French seer from the 1500s has been credited with predicting several end-of-the-world scenarios that some believe will take place in 2012. The website December212012.com points to the potential sparking of World War III on this date.
  • The collision of Earth and the supposed planet Nibiru. This supposed space catastrophe was initially predicted to strike in 2003. The planet in question was supposedly discovered by the Sumerians, according to NASA. When the world didn't end in 2003, the date was moved to December 2012 for the deadly collision with Earth.

What Are the Experts Saying?

The intrigue created by multiple end-of-the-world predictions has made many scholars stand up to make statements debunking the claims. From professors at Florida's New College to the scientific minds at NASA, they're all saying the same thing: Go ahead and pay that mortgage bill and wrap those holiday presents.

In regard to the ending of the Mayan calendar, New College's Gabrielle Vail told Patch that there are many misconceptions about the Mayans. If you look at their calendar alone, the Mayans kept three calendars. The one that has prompted the end of the world predictions was their "long-count calendar"—a 5,125-year calendar. The calendar began on Aug. 11, 3114 B.C., and ends on Dec. 21, 2012.

Vail said that the Mayans wrote about dates beyond Dec. 21, 2012, "well, well into the future—trillions of years." They also wrote about dates before the 5,125-year calendar began.

Here's what NASA has to say about all of the collective Doomsday prophesies:

The world will not end 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.

Still planning to eat dinner on Friday night in a bomb shelter? Tell us why in the comments section below.

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Frank December 21, 2012 at 10:22 AM
I uploaded an image for this story (image pending). Space.com has just released this image captured by the Hubble telescope, (image captured 5:07 am EST) it is heading towards Earth. Apparently it was obscured by our moon so that is why we couldn't spot it earlier. I wonder what it is? Another moon?
Susan Rose December 28, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Dec 21 was an opportunity for personal and planetary transformation. There was alot of good energy last weekend. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kellee-maize/december-21st-mayan-prophecy_b_2279461.html

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