From the Bible predictions of the rapture and the Antichrist, to Nostradamus's prediction of the Planet Comet, people see evidence of our civilization coming to an end. The most striking of these prophecies lies in the predictions of an ancient, but highly sophisticated Mayan calendar. The deciphering and understanding of the calendar is another story altogether so I'll get straight to the point.
The Mayan calendar is actually a combination of three calendars. The religious calendar, the solar calendar, and the Long Count. For the sake of this discussion, I'll stick to the Long Count. The Long Count can record any day in history because it is supposedly the measure of days from the beginning of humanity to the end.
The number system used for the Long Count is completely different than our decimal, 10-based number system. Instead, the Mayans used five sets of numbers separated with a decimal. A typical Long Count number would look like this: 188.8.131.52.14
The first day of the Long Count is labeled 0.0.0.0.1 which is the equivalent to August 11th, 3114 BC on our current Gregorian calendar. The Long Count calendar ends at 184.108.40.206.20 which is the equivalent to December 21, 2012.
But who cares what an ancient civilization thinks? The Mayans had neither the scientific knowledge, nor the technology that we have now. Why should we be worried? Let's look at this date from a scientific point of view.
Every 11 years our Sun goes through what's called a solar cycle (pole shift, magnetic reversal). During the peak time of the cycle, the Sun's magnetic poles switch. The magnetic field of the Sun does a 180 degree magnetic flip. During the peak time of this "flip," sunspots and solar flares become more frequent. This is what's called the "solar maximum."
Solar flares are pieces of the sun that leap into space, discharging radiation and strong electrical currents that travel outward into space. They often fall back to the surface of the Sun. Sometimes, a very strong flare, called a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), actually leaves the Sun and this deadly mass shoots out from the Sun towards the planets like a bullet. The flares occasionally hit the Earth. Most flares are small, but even a small flares can be dangerous. In 1989 a flare hit the North American continent and fried electric lines, zapped power grids in the US and Canada, and created large power blackouts. Flares can also effect our moods and physical health. In theory, a large flare impacting the Earth could zap the ionosphere and irradiate the surface, killing every living organism.
During early 2001, the Sun's solar cycle was completed and the Sun switched magnetic poles, so the Sun is due for another cycle in the year 2012. The solar cycle of 2012 is more significant than any earlier ones for several reasons.
1. During this time the two biggest planets in our solar system, Saturn and Jupiter, will be in line with each other. The gravitational effects of the two planets on the Sun will cause it to wobble during it's pole shift, affecting the magnitude of the CME's the Sun will be tossing into space. The Earth regularly gets hit with small CME's and research says that the increased magnitude of these CME's is one of the major causes of global warming, and changes in the ecosystem.
2. Right now the Sun's south magnetic pole is in line with the Earth's north magnetic pole. Since opposites attract, the Sun, along with it's gravitational influence from Saturn and Jupiter, may cause the Earth to switch magnetic poles as well. The magnetic field of the Earth switching in a matter of minutes will cause huge disruptions in the Earth's geological and ecological system, including mass earthquakes and volcano eruptions all over the world. After it's all done, compasses will point South, the Sun will rise in the West and set in the East.
3. Another possibility--probably the most catastrophic--is the phenomenon called "polar wander." Polar wander is a result of the Earth's outer crust shifting at a rapid rate. The magnetic poles stay put but
There is supposedly a black hole in the middle of the Milky Way holding everything together. Our solar system is around the outer edge of the disc. When our solar system lines up with the center of the galaxy, we will be at the strongest part of the galaxy's magnetic field where there is maximum gravitation. With the Sun's solar cycle being at it's maximum, the alignment of Saturn and Jupiter, and the alignment of the sun with the equator of the Milky Way, will cause a major increase in the magnitude of the Sun's solar flares. The gravitational complexities will also have an influence on whether or not the Earth will undergo a magnetic pole shift. There is also speculation that the Earth may reverse its rotation since we'll be in the opposite hemisphere of the galaxy.
According to the Mayas, the center of the Galaxy is the cosmic womb, the place of dead, transformation, regeneration and rebirth. This moment shows the end of their calendar. So gather ye rosebuds while you may...
So there you are. Everything you wanted to know but were afraid or too bored to ask. 2012 is soon to be a major motion picture, which in some ways is heartening. No matter what, someone will profit...
*Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying.
Robert Herrick To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time