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 (405 Responses)
  1. kamal

    until 2012 doomsday stories began I never thought so called developed world where they cliaim to be precise in their predictions and scientific achievements could be stupid and make a mockery out of the whole thing and prove how a story teller can fool the west to this extent. thats the price they pay for shutting down their hearts for God. the day you rejected God whom you introduced to the East as if you found him put you to utter shame for your ignorance. come back to yourselves and cooperate with life. world will end for you the day you die if you have no hope in the one who is Risen. God save the fools.

    December 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  2. brown

    It will happen suddenly and without warning ... The Earth will rid itself of the human infestation!

    You have been warned!

    December 21, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  3. Jane Doe

    Jack was wrong!

    December 21, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  4. Tech993

    The world is not just going to end. Get that out of your head! You will have 7 years of tribulation and absolute horror before it ends. What you will not see coming is the Rapture. That will happen in the twinkling of an eye and could happen any day. No one knows the day or hour but we will know the general time period. How will we know this? Jesus told his deciples in matthew 24:3-14. It says,
    Signs of the End of the Age
    3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
    9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then many will fall away[a] and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • skeptic56

      Fruit-cake. Fruitcake. FRUITCAKE. Cake-of-fruit. Wingnut. Nut-of-Wing. Nut-fruit-wing-cake-nutbar. Nuts. Insane. Jelly-bean brain. Fool. Child. Idiot. Fruit-jelly-nut-wing-jelly insane brainless child.

      Waste of all good things, you are.

      December 22, 2012 at 3:36 am |
  5. Crsyatl Filgian

    You Don't all die because you humans have way more to offer to the universe. SO DEAL WITH IT!

    December 22, 2012 at 2:17 am |
  6. mumford68

    Wow what is it with people. If the world does not end there is an excuse and another date is set. It must be nice to keep saying things that cant be disproven cause it is some undetermined time in the future. Just wait youll see. How dense are the people that write this dribble. why in the world are you so easily led into the belief that you are so special that something special is going to happen in your lifetime? Ive heard and seen this dribble for many decades now and if you would look at history it has been a mentality that has gone on for much more than my lifetime. as for the people that tought happiness you can suck it. I was desperate to find work and put a while back money into a couple online companies that never did anything but try to get more money out of me. Now i see everything i worked for deteriorating and not able to do anything about it. Begged people for work even if its around town and nothing. I see the lying people with the signs on the street doing better than me. Its almost at the

    December 22, 2012 at 4:38 am |
  7. mumford68

    ...point where i want to ask one of the so called homeless people for some change. I almost feel at my wits end and having people make a mockery like smile today and feel better and tomorrow things will be better would sing a different tune if they were in my shoes for a while. why cant people actually help people. All ive wanted to do was find work if not physical then on the net but instead i get taken for money and receive spam. I can type, Spell decently and love to help people. But you think people will put back up what they typed here about helping others. I think it will be proven one way or another when i dont receive one message or email for suggestions or work!

    December 22, 2012 at 4:46 am |
  8. Rahul

    Dec 21 2012 is the end of the long count Mayan calander....not end if the world!

    December 22, 2012 at 4:47 am |
  9. mumford68

    Bestwowgoldmakingguide yahoo com or markrushet yahoo com

    December 22, 2012 at 4:48 am |
  10. mumford68

    Rahul no end of world. Just end of a calendar period or called a new cycle also callled new era. You will still have bills due on monday. Two things you can count on are taxes and death.

    December 22, 2012 at 7:07 am |
  11. RobertC

    It is amazing to me how many people fall for this end-of-the-world nonsense. These pseudo-scientific "theories" have no more foundation or credibility than the Jesus-is-coming hoaxes that pop up every couple of years. The movie was fun, but really, people, get a grip.

    December 22, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  12. Rahul

    I agree with Robert. Actually, the world has 'ended' about 7 times this century...its not even funny.

    December 22, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  13. Name*Sigmania

    My book, BOOK OF SIG explains it all.

    December 23, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  14. 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 |
  15. saveyourfeet

    Interesting. What I care about is this: I am a type 1 diabetic. My feet were going to be amputated. until I found a simple way to stop that from happening. if you are a diabetic you need to read saveyourfeetDOTwordpressDOTcom

    December 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  16. 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 |
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    December 24, 2012 at 3:42 am |
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    December 26, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  19. YANNIS

    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 |
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