December 19th, 2012
03:53 PM ET

Debunking doomsday: 6 rumors dispelled

From the Mayan calendar and a runaway planet called "Nibiru," from killer asteroids and theories about galactic alignments: The internet is full of talk about the world ending on December 21.

NASA scientists recently addressed some of the most pervasive of these rumors around the dubious date. Take a look:

Mayan calendar
The Mayan calendar began somewhere around 3,114 years before the current era, and is set to end on December 21 or 23 (depending on the translation). NASA scientist Mitzi Adams describes what the Mayans would have done had their civilization lasted and why there is no cause for alarm.

Runaway planet
Is an ancient Sumerian planet called "Nibiru" on a collision course with Earth? NASA scientist David Morrison explains how you can dispel this rumor all by yourself.

Galactic alignment
Will the Earth, Sun and center of the Milky Way line up in December?  Yes!  But as three astronomers explain, it happens every December and is not a sign of doomsday.

Solar apocalypse
Like any other star, the sun will eventually use up its hydrogen core, expand and engulf the Earth.  But don't rush out to buy Red Giant insurance for your home by December 21 - you have about 5 BILLION years to prepare. Two NASA scientists explain.

Killer asteroid
There is a real, long-term concern about possible asteroid impacts, and that's why NASA has been scanning the heavens, cataloging them for nearly 20 years.  And as two NASA scientists will tell you, not a single object has been found that's on a collision course with Earth.

Polar shift
One internet rumor about the world ending on December 21 is that the Earth will shift on its axis.  Astronomer Andrew Fraknoi explains how it's just not possible to change the way our planet rotates in a single day.

The Maya collapsed. Could we?

Be honest: Apocalypse kinda exciting?

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Topics: Science • Space

soundoff (402 Responses)
  1. Name*Sigmania

    Who ever said a pole reversal would be instantanious. It is taking about a hundred years,Norway will be the next North Pole. Read my book available on Kindle and Amazon. I wrote this book, formally called THE DIVINE PLAN, 33 years ago, when I was contacted by Godhead, and instructed to inform Earth what we are going through. Good luck. Be prepared.

    December 23, 2012 at 9:33 am | Reply
  2. saveyourfeet

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    December 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  3. Julie

    Note to CNN production staff: Sounds effects bed in this series is too loud to be able to easily understand what scientists are saying. Tks.

    December 23, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Reply
  4. Rev Dr Felix Nwosu


    December 24, 2012 at 3:42 am | Reply
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    December 26, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Reply

    Would it be at all possible that the Mayans refered to the World as what they saw around them ONLY and not the whole planet? Surely doomsday has passed for their civilization. Also with the power of finance and economy we may not need a violent physical phenomenon to destroy our civilization!

    December 29, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Reply
  7. Amanda

    Even if some of those things don't happen I have a great website with some more input. It is worth taking a look at!

    January 5, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Reply
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