NASA predicts total blackout on 23-25 Dec 2012?

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PostThu Nov 29, 2012 3:33 pm » by Tomjay


NASA predicts total blackout on 23-25 Dec 2012 during alignment of Universe?


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Thick dust clouds block our night-time view of the Milky Way, creating what is sometimes called the Dark Rift. The fact that -- from the viewpoint of Earth -- the sun aligns with these clouds, or the galactic center, near the winter solstice is no cause for concern. Credit: A. Fujii

One of the most bizarre theories about 2012 has built up with very little attention to facts. This idea holds that a cosmic alignment of the sun, Earth, the center of our galaxy -- or perhaps the galaxy's thick dust clouds -- on the winter solstice could for some unknown reason lead to destruction. Such alignments can occur but these are a regular occurrence and can cause no harm (and, indeed, will not even be at its closest alignment during the 2012 solstice.)

The details are as follows: Viewed far from city lights, a glowing path called the Milky Way can be seen arching across the starry sky. This path is formed from the light of millions of stars we cannot see individually. It coincides with the mid plane of our galaxy, which is why our galaxy is also named the Milky Way.

Thick dust clouds also populate the galaxy. And while infrared telescopes can see them clearly, our eyes detect these dark clouds only as irregular patches where they dim or block the Milky Way's faint glow. The most prominent dark lane stretches from the constellations Cygnus to Sagittarius and is often called the Great Rift, sometimes the Dark Rift.

Another impressive feature of our galaxy lies unseen in Sagittarius: the galactic center, about 28,000 light-years away, which hosts a black hole weighing some four million times the sun's mass.

The claim for 2012 links these two pieces of astronomical fact with a third -- the position of the sun near the galactic center on Dec. 21, the winter solstice for the Northern Hemisphere -- to produce something that makes no astronomical sense at all.

As Earth makes its way around the sun, the sun appears to move against the background stars, which is why the visible constellations slowly change with the seasons. On Dec. 21, 2012, the sun will pass about 6.6 degrees north of the galactic center -- that's a distance that looks to the eye to be about 13 times the full moon's apparent size -- and it's actually closer a couple of days earlier. There are different claims about why this bodes us ill, but they boil down to the coincidence of the solstice with the sun entering the Dark Rift somehow portending disaster or the mistaken notion that the sun and Earth becoming aligned with the black hole in the galactic center allows some kind of massive gravitational pull on Earth.

The first strike against this theory is that the solstice itself does not correlate to any movements of the stars or anything in the universe beyond Earth. It just happens to be the day that Earth's North Pole is tipped farthest from the sun.

Second, Earth is not within range of strong gravitational effects from the black hole at the center of the galaxy since gravitational effects decrease exponentially the farther away one gets. Earth is 93 million miles from the sun and 165 quadrillion miles from the Milky Way's black hole. The sun and the moon (a smaller mass, but much closer) are by far the most dominant gravitational forces on Earth. Throughout the course of the year, our distance from the Milky Way's black hole changes by about one part in 900 million – not nearly enough to cause a real change in gravity's pull. Moreover, we're actually nearest to the galactic center in the summer, not at the winter solstice.

Third, the sun appears to enter the part of the sky occupied by the Dark Rift every year at the same time, and its arrival there in Dec. 2012 portends precisely nothing.

Enjoy the solstice, by all means, and don't let the Dark Rift, alignments, solar flares, magnetic field reversals, potential impacts or alleged Maya end-of-the-world predictions get in the way.



Francis Reddy
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012-alignment.html
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PostThu Nov 29, 2012 4:07 pm » by Toxic32


Did I miss something? Nothing in your post indicating total blackout during those date's. You are misrepresenting what NASA has said and scaremongering . WHY?
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PostThu Nov 29, 2012 4:12 pm » by domdabears


Toxic32 wrote:Did I miss something? Nothing in your post indicating total blackout during those date's. You are misrepresenting what NASA has said and scaremongering . WHY?

Because it's the cool thing to do these days.
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PostThu Nov 29, 2012 4:15 pm » by Slith


Does anyone actually believe anything NASA says? Seriously....
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PostThu Nov 29, 2012 4:22 pm » by domdabears


Unfortunately, Morrison said, the fantasy has real-life consequences. As one of NASA's prominent speakers on 2012 doomsday myths, Morrison said, he receives many emails and letters from worried citizens, particularly young people. Some say they can't eat, or are too worried to sleep, Morrison said. Others say they're suicidal.

"While this is a joke to some people and a mystery to others, there is a core of people who are truly concerned," he said.

Not every 2012 apocalypse believer thinks the world will end on Dec. 21. Some, inspired by New Age philosophies, expect a day of universal peace and spiritual transformation. But it's impressionable kids who have NASA officials worried.

"I think it's evil for people to propagate rumors on the Internet to frighten children," Morrison said.

Myths and misconceptions

NASA scientists took questions via social media in the hour-long video chat, debunking doomsday myths from the rogue planet Nibiru to the danger of killer solar flares.

In fact, said NASA heliophysicist Lika Guhathakurta, it's true that the sun is currently in an active phase of its cycle, meaning electromagnetic energy has picked up. Large solar flares can impact electronics and navigation systems on Earth, but satellites monitoring the sun give plenty of warning and allow officials to compensate for the extra electromagnetic activity when it hits our atmosphere. What's more, Guhathakurta said, this particular solar maximum is the "wimpiest" in some time — scientists have no reason to expect solar storms beyond what our planet has weathered in the past.

Nor are any near-Earth objects, planetary or otherwise, threatening to slam into our planet on Dec. 21, said Don Yeomans, a planetary scientist who tracks near-Earth objects at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The only close asteroid approach on the horizon is forecast to occur on Feb. 13, 2013, when an asteroid will pass within 4.5 Earth radii to our planet (for perspective, Earth's radius is 3,963 miles, or 6,378 kilometers). The asteroid is not going to hit Earth, Yeomans said.

Other rumors — that the Earth's magnetic field will suddenly reverse or that the planet will travel almost 30,000 light-years and fall into the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy — were also dismissed. (A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles, or 10 trillion km.)

One popular rumor that the planet will undergo a complete blackout from Dec. 23 to 25 earned a "What?" and blank looks from the panel of scientists.

Ultimately, concerns about Earth's fate would be better focused on slow-acting problems such as climate change rather than some sort of cosmic catastrophe, said Andrew Fraknoi, an astronomer at Foothill College in California.

Mitzi Adams, a heliophysicist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, agreed.

"The greatest threat to Earth in 2012, at the end of this year and in the future, is just from the human race itself," Adams said.

http://news.yahoo.com/2012-mayan-apocal ... 08647.html
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PostThu Nov 29, 2012 4:23 pm » by Flipper


That reminds me of a story my mother heard on the radio today. This guy said if the moon had a polar flip as in the north pole wound up being the south pole. It would create 6 months of day and 6months of night time. She couldn't explain the details of it. I have heard of some whacky theories but that one takes the cake. She said he didn't give a time when it would happen.

I will be glad when 2013 comes along.
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PostThu Nov 29, 2012 4:25 pm » by domdabears


Seahawk posted this yesterday. And it relates to that article I just posted.


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PostThu Nov 29, 2012 4:28 pm » by Cornbread714


I think I have never seen a thread in which the title is more misleading.


You're completely full of shit, Tomjay.


I can't decide whether to lock it or change the title. If I change the title, none of the responses will make sense.


I guess I'll just leave it so people can see how stupid the title (and the original poster) is...
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PostThu Nov 29, 2012 6:47 pm » by domdabears


Cornbread714 wrote:
I can't decide whether to lock it or change the title. If I change the title, none of the responses will make sense.

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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PostThu Nov 29, 2012 7:10 pm » by *WillEase*


Cornbread714 wrote:I think I have never seen a thread in which the title is more misleading.


You're completely full of shit, Tomjay.


I can't decide whether to lock it or change the title. If I change the title, none of the responses will make sense.


I guess I'll just leave it so people can see how stupid the title (and the original poster) is...


Because the title is a question...
Is NASA predicting a "total blackout" of Earth on Dec. 23 to Dec. 25?

A: Absolutely not. Neither NASA nor any other scientific organization is predicting such a blackout. The false reports on this issue claim that some sort of "alignment of the Universe" will cause a blackout. There is no such alignment (see next question). Some versions of this rumor cite an emergency preparedness message from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. This is simply a message encouraging people to be prepared for emergencies, recorded as part of a wider government preparedness campaign. It never mentions a blackout.
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012.html
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