End of the world

Theories about the causes of a possible “end of the world”
An apocalyptic look at 2012 has been circulating in the media space. A number of people jokingly or seriously “planned” for December 21 the end of the world or the death of human civilization. Such fabricated materials were published in abundance on the Internet, in particular on YouTube, and they were also distributed by some cable TV channels. In addition to statements about the end of the world, a significant number of rebuttals have been published that have considered the problem from a scientific point of view or from a position of skepticism.

Apocalyptic alignment

Sagittarius A*, photo from the Chandra space telescope

Some commentators, while agreeing with the “galactic alignment” theory, see it as a global cosmic catastrophe. In their opinion, the “alignment” will lead to the creation of a combined gravitational effect between the Sun and the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A*, located at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, which in turn will create chaos on Earth. In addition, as already noted, the “galactic alignment” occurred in 1998, and the path of the Sun seen from Earth through the zodiac does not pass through the true center of the Galaxy, but several degrees higher. And, in any case, the distance from Earth to Sagittarius A* is about 30,000 light years. It would have to be 6 million times smaller to cause gravitational disruptions in the solar system. This reading of the “galactic alignment” was presented in the documentary Decoding the Past shown on the History Channel. John Major Jenkins stated that the screenplay was clearly co-written by a science fiction writer, and described the film as “45 minutes of shameless doomsday lies” and “an insane pursuit of sensationalism of the worst sort.”

Some proponents of the apocalyptic theory have used the term “galactic alignment” to describe the very different phenomena scientists have proposed to explain the patterns of mass extinction of species that paleontological evidence suggests. According to this hypothesis (eng.)rus. extinctions occurred with a certain frequency, once every 26 million years. As part of the hypothesis, this is justified by the periodicity of the Sun’s movement around the center of the Milky Way in its own orbit, one complete cycle of which is 250 million years. During this movement, the Sun regularly – once every 20-25 million years – passes through the galactic longitudinal plane of symmetry. When the solar system is in the galactic plane, the action of tidal forces from the rest of the mass of the galaxy increases, and these forces are captured by comets from the Oort Cloud. As a result, the flow of comets heading into the solar system increases by 4 times, which leads to a significant increase in the probability of a comet colliding with the Earth. However, this hypothesis faces serious objections. Such “alignment” must take place over tens of millions of years and cannot be confined to any date. Moreover, scientific evidence suggests that the Sun passed through the plane of the galactic disk only three million years ago and is currently continuing to move away from it.

The third version of the fatal alignment is something like a parade of planets, which supposedly was supposed to take place on December 21, 2012. However, there will be no parade of planets on this day. Similar phenomena were observed, for example, in 2000 and 2010, each time without any consequences for the Earth. Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, is more massive than all the other planets combined. At the moment of its confrontation with the Earth, its gravitational influence is less than 1% of the influence from the Moon.

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