What's going to happen when the Earth passes through the Galactic Plane?

"It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice -- there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia." -Frank Zappa

There are many websites around telling you that the world is going to end on the winter solstice -- December 21st -- in the year 2012. And one of the ways that people are saying the world is going to end is that, on this date, the Earth will pass through the plane of the Milky Way galaxy, destroying us all.

Where to begin with this? First off, let me show you what our galaxy looks like. When you look up at an extremely dark night sky, the Milky Way is visible with your naked eye, and looks like this.

It's huge and expansive, but it's also quite thick. But we can't really see what the entire structure of the galaxy looks like because we're inside of it. Some people are content to rely on an artist's interpretation, like this.

For me, though, it's much more convincing to take a look at our galaxy with infrared eyes. Why is infrared special? Because all of that galactic dust and gas that obscures the plane of the galaxy is invisible in the infrared. Thanks to the COBE satellite (and its DIRBE instrument), we can see just what our galaxy looks like.

And we can ask ourselves if this looks like anything that's out there in the Universe. Of course there is: we look just like every other edge-on spiral galaxy out there!

Spiral galaxies are somewhere around 100,000 light-years in diameter, our Milky Way included. But they're comparatively very thin: only a couple of thousand light-years thick. And while its true that the Sun, the Earth, and the rest of our Solar System orbits the center of our galaxy, we also move up-and-down through the galactic plane. (That's plane, not plain, my friendly image generators.)

It's pretty impressive that, with a disc 2,000 light-years thick, we're only about 50 light years away from the galactic equator!

But this wobbling up-and-down doesn't happen overnight, or even over the span of many decades. To make one complete trip out of and back into the galactic plane takes about 30 million years. In fact, at the rate we're moving right now, we won't cross into the center of the galactic plane for another few hundred thousand years, much less by December of 2012.

But what fearsome things are out there at the center of the galactic plane? What goes on there that we need to be afraid of?

Well, I suppose there's a higher density of stars there. Slightly. The simple fact is -- for all practical purposes -- the center of the galactic plane is absolutely no different than our present location in the galaxy. No more stars, gas, dust, radiation, black holes, neutron stars, supernovae, gamma-ray-bursts or anything else that you can conceive of happens in the center of the galactic plane than 10 or 50 or 100 or even 500 light-years away from it.

In other words, the center of the galactic plane is about as special as the Earth's equator.

Sure, it's the center. It's an interesting imaginary line for many reasons, including the definition of latitude. (The Earth's equator defines terrestrial latitude, while the center of the galactic plane defines galactic latitude.)

But if you actually go to the Earth's equator, standing on it is no more exciting or interesting than standing north or south of it by a fair bit.

Even if you're at the famous equator monument in Ecuador.

So while there might be a whole bunch of things to worry about in this world, passing through the center of the galactic plane isn't one of them, and it isn't going to happen for another few hundred thousand years!

(But by that point, we'll all be enslaved by aliens, no thanks to me.)

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I assume this is related to the Mayan Calendar's odometer resetting at 2012. I recently attended a lecture by archaeologist (and Mayan expert) Anthony Aveni who writes on the 2012 'prophesies' -- quotes because he assures us there are no Mayan prophesies, but many groups and individuals here in the US are making up for the absence. He is disturbed by the hysteria on this topic, especially among young people. It's good you're covering this topic. There may be other cosmic alignments needing similar treatment.


We could always pick a point, then run around drawing a target around it and then jump around proclaiming "Look, we are in the direct center!!!11!!"

By NewEnglandBob (not verified) on 03 Jun 2010 #permalink

I suspect the real reason Civilization will end when we cross the galactic equator is that everyone on the planet will be forced to go through that 'Crossing the Equator with King Neptune' ritual, and Civilization, as we know it, will collapse from sheer embarrassment.

I remember a "programming" tale from a few decades back. Apparently when the first F16 crossed the equator the avionics programming wasn't so hot, and it made the plane fly upside down (i.e. it thought up was the normal to the surface in the direction of the north pole). The pilot realized the problem and flew back into the northern hemisphere where it was possible to land right side up. So maybe the giant alien saucer that is trailing the earth will have a sudden problem with its avionics? What if it crashes into the earth?

By Omega Centauri (not verified) on 03 Jun 2010 #permalink

This is ridiculous. You make me sick.

But if you actually go to the Earth's equator, standing on it is no more exciting or interesting than standing north or south of it by a fair bit. How far is a fair bit? Because it's tropical in equatorial regions, and as we know, coconut palms like the tropics, and coconuts are just about the best thing there is. So, if a fair bit puts you out of coconut growing climes (26 degrees roughly either way I believe) then I'd dispute your assertion that it is no more exciting there than somewhere like Cairns (FNQ) or Fiji.

Sorry, it's winter here in Melbourne, and a bit nippy. Did I mention I like coconuts?

But there's all sorts of infrared - which infrared makes the image look clear? Planck sees a lot of infrared - a lot of cold dust and gas shows up everywhere (but they do color it so it's all very pretty).

Now off to use some infrared bands to look at terrestrial dust ...

By MadScientist (not verified) on 03 Jun 2010 #permalink

May this be a cause of a magnetic reversal. Look for more volcano's and with the volcano's, warmer ocean temperatures.

At least they quoted Zappa.

By Thos Weatherby (not verified) on 03 Jun 2010 #permalink

One thing is certain. We're ALL gonna die!.

You may now run out panicking into the streets.

Regarding the F16, I believe that happened during a simulation test. Had it happened in real-life, the pilot would have been killed by the G forces caused by the instant flipping.

No alignment... nothing special... Where's the fun in that?
Alignment or no alignment, 12/21/12 will be my 60th birthday and I'd like a present whether or not there's a future.

By Lloyd Hargrove (not verified) on 04 Jun 2010 #permalink

You're so wrong Mr. "Scientist". Although, the Earth may not pass through the physical plane of the galaxy, it will pass through the quantum-physical plane of the galaxy.

Because of experiments with the Hadron Collider, energy now has equalized with frequency and the tachyon waves are influencing the probability cloud. This means a multidimensional tsunami in 2012.

Hey us young people are really just looking even more reason to get plastered and get laid. Look its the end of the world! Have a beer and have sex with me it could be your last chance!

You say the galactic plane is no different than the rest of the galaxy? Umm, ha...you just stated it's different even by the naked eye! If it's spinning like a disc, I would think everything would be a bit more concentrated on that plane. Just admit, nobody knows what will happen, not even you.

There are a lot of things we can worry about, this isn't one of the.

Ben Koshkin

By Ben Koshkin (not verified) on 05 Jun 2010 #permalink

F16 G forces kill the pilot while 'flipping' - Yes now there is an aerodynamics term I recall well from flight school. But wait, I cannot recall how it pertained to yaw, pitch and roll; but if I am not mistaken flipping usually had something to do with the hands; and Chinese and Russian pilots.

Shoot I forget.

Must be the precursor to the energy now equalized with frequency and the tachyon waves which influence the probability cloud precipitating the multidimensional tsunami in 2012.

What's going to happen when the Earth passes through the Galactic Plane?

If we really are oscillating above and below the galactic plane, then I would assume that their is some acceleration and deceleration aspects to our position with respect to the galactic plane. Minor velocity change.

"and it isn't going to happen for anotherfew hundred thousand years!"

oh and irradiated fruit still will have not rotted.


By Sphere Coupler (not verified) on 05 Jun 2010 #permalink

While Earth will pass through the Galactic Plane it will be like for me lately, while standing on the "0" Meridian in Greenwich:
One foot east, the other west . . . and . . . I wasn't cut in two pieces !

By controline (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

I think passing through the plane got a brief mention in Death From the Skies, by Phil Plait. He mentioned that there might well be a problem, but only during the times when we were well above or below the plane of the galaxy, and were exposed to more energetic radiation. But that's a good bit further in the future.

By Whomever1 (not verified) on 10 Jun 2010 #permalink

The myan calender ends on 2012 because they resorted to canablism on another note that pic with the two coples that isn,t the equator. Its one or two blocks away from that location next time you travel to equador ask were the real eqator is

The Mayan calendar doesn't "end" in 2012 any more than the Gregorian calendar ended in 2000.

20 Dec 2012 = in the Long Count
21 Dec 2012 =
22 Dec 2012 =
23 Dec 2012 =


There are dates mentioned in Mayan inscriptions which are thousands of years in the future - for example the date, calculated as 80 calendar rounds (~4157 years) from the accession of a particular ruler, corresponds to 21 Oct 4772. More extreme cases compute dates millions of years into the future, so it's clear that the Maya did not believe that their calendar ever actually ended as such - from some inscriptions they were apparently prepared to extend it to at least 24 positions, which would allow for a span of 10^28 years.

The Long Count was in any event abandoned by the Maya long before they were first contacted by Westerners; even the names for units longer than the k'atun (7200 days, just under 20 years) were lost.

(The monument in Ecuador is indeed off by a couple of hundred meters by modern measurement standards. This only reinforces Ethan's point that there's nothing actually special about it - you cannot detect the error except with detailed measurement of the entire planet.)

By Andrew G. (not verified) on 23 Jul 2010 #permalink

hey ethan,

are all the above photos of the galaxy real or artist's impressions. b'cause i wonder if the photos were taken by voyager like space probes.

unkown person
poelpe listen to this in 10 years the things are going to be differnt in this wrold there would't be humman rights that stuff it will be gone we will be salves the peolpe are going to live the hell life there woulnd be any benefits for the americans like no jods and ways to study ..... the laws are going to be more srtong for us the poor peolpe we are going to be very poor this wrold be very bad so peolpe pray a lot and give your heart to god and go to chrch ok peolpe ....

This is junk.

Well the difference between the equator and where I live is quite a large one in terms of temperature.

That kind of a difference on a galactic scale while it may not bother the earth the things that wont bother the earth could kill me and could make the earth uninhabitable for a few years I would guess.

John Major Jenkins - On 2012 & The Galactic Alignment google it

we pass through the galactical plane about every 26000 years, we don't know what will happen other than warnings from the ancients, you believe what you want though

I am still fearing of the 2012, Dec.21, 11 ; 11 times.
I believe it has been causing fear among the young generations. I am 73, turned into 74, just Oct. 9,2010, have lived a life of many wonders. I believe that nothing is predictable 100 per cent. And some predictions will not come to be. But, is it natural in every turn of a century to have environmental changes as we are having now days? It is daily something of somewhere happening, mostly water and landslide and wind destruction. It has been many in numbers since 2008, started out slowly in 2004, and not strong, but now all is just very powerful and destructive. There must be something triggering it, if not an alignments then may be us being going up there and disturb the balance of the Universe. In about 2003 , I was told that the magnetic field was tightened up and that we were ascending upward. I my self feel that there is something happening natural or men made I am not so sure of that.
I know of one things, the power to control is not in our hands, only God can tell, our creator ,to where to go to the clouds, like Job said it. Blessings I pray for to the world and may God the creator have mercy on us and save us from destruction.

By Maria Rodriguez (not verified) on 10 Oct 2010 #permalink

On the diagram showing Earth and the Galactic plane, what is the time frame for 1 cycle?

If we are nearing the galactic plane/dark rift, then the asteroid count should be increasing as it is very dense at the center. If a full cycle is 26,000 years+- then we pass through every 13,000 years+- It would explain extinctions during these periods. 12,500 year old mammoths, flash frozen with butter cups in their stomachs? The plane must be highly magnetic or we wouldn't be pulled to and through it. Pole shift?
Go here and scroll down to Near Earth Asteroids. PHAs
Now go through the archives to see if these PHAs are increasing.

On 7 Nov 2001 there were 340 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

On November 7, 2010 there were 1157 potentially hazardous asteroids.

In fact, the numbers of PHAs increase steadily month by month.

Explain all the natural disasters, volcanoes, earthquakes and dead animals? we are experiencing a shift of the magnetic poles. how do you explain the timing of all this?

"Sure, it's the center. It's an interesting imaginary line for many reasons, including the definition of latitude. (The Earth's equator defines terrestrial latitude, while the center of the galactic plane defines galactic latitude.)

But if you actually go to the Earth's equator, standing on it is no more exciting or interesting than standing north or south of it by a fair bit."

Are you serious? Something very exciting and interesting happens at the equator that is scientific.. Things start spinning the other way!

I watched the John Major Jenkins video. His reasoning seems to be a bit fuzzy on too many things. For one, he seems to be saying what I've heard for years, that we're really passing through the galactic plane in 2012. I tend to believe that we aren't, based on threads like this that debunk it. Most of his reasoning is stretched a bit on everything else. Then he lines it all up with prophecy and religious.. stuff. I don't doubt he's done lots of research, but I doubt the validity of the conclusions he's come to.

By halfvulcan (not verified) on 19 Feb 2011 #permalink

Personally I feel that this is going to be a slow process. I find it hard to believe that ALL OF A SUDDEN something is going to happen December 21, 2012; not to say I'm belittling the flip by all means; but I think that the magnetic storms and asteroids will become more active. I mean use common sense it is all about the magnetic field that we really have no control over. The more heat(Sun) that is put on a object or something, the faster molecules move and the more out of control the atmosphere gets with all masses like the comets, asteroids and meteors. Can someone tell me visually where is the Earth positioned on the Galactic Plane with the Cycle. Like visually exactly where is the Earth (How close are we to the Galactic Center.) I mean how fast does the Earth move on the oscillation line?

theres never going to be any end of world......for eva going on...trust me.im close to proof

For me, though, it's much more convincing to take a look at our galaxy with infrared eyes. Why is infrared special? Because all of that galactic dust and gas that obscures the plane of the galaxy is invisible in the infrared. Thanks to the COBE satellite (and its DIRBE instrument), we can see just what our galaxy looks like.

Well the difference between the equator and where I live is quite a large one in terms of temperature.

According to Weathercast Forecaster That kind of a difference on a galactic scale while it may not bother the earth the things that wont bother the earth could kill me and could make the earth uninhabitable for a few years I would guess.

This is all very interesting. The fact of the matter is, whatever I say still goes. I still havn't made my mind up about when. Albeit,I'm getting very vitriolic about the relative probability of anythiong very exiting happening in your sector of my universe. Do something fast, because the predictability factors of your existence has just crossed my monotony plane and I'm about to start the next dimension. By the way... I started this rumor about polar shift leading to earth crust displacement and so then everyone has to jump on board. Get off my wave!

By Michael The ki… (not verified) on 28 Mar 2011 #permalink

Interesting thoughts, this reminds me of my astronomy class where we used to discuss such things in detail. I recently read that the Maya had researched a lot about our solar system. I wonder if they know about these things. Jessy from cluburlaub check team in Germany.

Btw. Thanks for these interesting insights, love to read about these things.

Wow you seem to have overlooked a few thing in your analysis allow me to point them out.

You said "But if you actually go to the Earth's equator, standing on it is no more exciting or interesting than standing north or south of it by a fair bit."

I am a fair bit north of the earth's equator and I can tell you while it might not be more exciting or interesting it is quite a bit cooler here. I also understand that there are physical differences between north and south like water swirls the opposite direction, different polarities at the poles and seasons take place at different times.

None of these are life threatening of course (unless you consider being unprepared for differences in weather life threatening) but, it does prove that there can be differences between the center of the galactic plane than 10 or 50 or 100 or even 500 light-years away from it as well as differences between being above or below it.

you idiot, its more interesting because the super massive black hole is spinning at such a high rate with high mass that it creates a disc gravitational pull not spherical like earth or the sun. So at the galactic plane (strongest gravitational pull point of the disc!) would obviously be alot different to what we experience in our everyday lives. I bet you also believe in god.

Thank you....so interesting :)

There's no debate all you have to do is look at the sun. It's been getting brighter and hotter. The gravitational forces has been reducing the sun's solar activity and sun spot activity since 2008. The entire earth is shifting South East. The poles have been reported as shifting North West towards Siberia Russia. In 2011 the sun rose in Greenland 2 days early for the first time in recorded human history. The jet streams of the earth is changing all over the planet. Only a fool cant not notice the great changes taking place! The science of 2012 is real people rather you believe it or not! Open your eyes and look up at the sky!

Dc, I don't know if you are trying to be sarcastic or what...some, or most really, of what you've said doesn't make sense. Steve, you're sounding like a jerk, and I also don't agree that you can know that things "would obviously be alot different to what we experience in our everyday lives" while being closer to and passing through the galactic plane, as you have stated, especially when strictly talking about gravity. Just sayin'. Gravity is a relatively weak force when compared to the atomic forces and even electromagnetism, which easily overcomes the force of gravity to pick a paperclip upwards and away from Earth's pull with the weakest of child's play magnets. Gravity is so weak in comparison to the other forces that it is basically ignored in particle accelerators while focusing beams. It seems to me that therefor there would hardly be any noticeable change, maybe slightly more exaggerated tides, and Earth's own gravity would continue to trump the gravity of objects thousands of light years away from us in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Let me think on how this all could effect the magnetic poles, but right now I'm thinking the switching of poles would occur due to Earth's internal structure and liquidity, just as the sun's equator and poles spin at different rates, only over a much, much more drawn out time line for our planet.

By Justin Time (not verified) on 14 Jan 2012 #permalink

As we get closer to the galactic plane we will experience more natural disasters such as more tornado outbreaks,
More cat 5 hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, heat waves, floods ect...

What I do believe is from this year and beyond, weather disasters will get worse, worse, and more worse.

Now that astrobiologists have had time to look at it and the pillow biters have had their fetish secession...

Comet Strikes Increase as We Pass Through the Galactic Plane

by Fraser Cain on May 6, 2008

There are just so many ways the Universe is out to get us. Astronomers have already considered the threat from our Sunâs orbit around the center of the Milky Way. When our Sun rises up out of flat plane of the Milky Way, it appears we might be less protected from intergalactic radiation and cosmic rays. Well, it looks like passing through the middle of the galactic plane might have its own share of risks: an increased number of comets might be hurled towards the Earth because of gravitational interaction with the densest parts of our galaxy.

Researchers at the Cardiff Centre of Astrobiology have built a computer model of the Solar Systemâs journey around the Milky Way. Instead of making a perfectly flat orbit around the galaxyâs centre, it actually bounces up and down. At times it can rise right up out of the galactic plane â getting 100 light years above â and then dip down below it. They calculated that we pass through the plane every 35 to 40 million years.

Who are you going to believe. Some old theory from 1959 or a new computer model made by modern astrobiologists? :dunno:

And this time period seems to match dangerous periods of impacts on Earth. According to the number and age of craters on Earth, we seem to suffer increased impacts every 36 million years. Uh oh, thatâs a match.

In fact, one of these high points of comet activity would have been 65 million years â the same time that an asteroid strike wiped out the dinosaurs.

And hereâs the bad news. According to their calculations, the Solar System will be passing through the galactic plane in the near future, and should see an increased risk of impact. Our risk of impact could increase 10-fold.

There might be a silver lining to the bounce, though. The impacts might have helped life spread across the galaxy.

By Sane one feeling it (not verified) on 10 Apr 2012 #permalink


June 8, 2010, 6:25 am
While Earth will pass through the Galactic Plane it will be like for me lately, while standing on the “0″ Meridian in Greenwich:
One foot east, the other west . . . and . . . I wasn’t cut in two pieces !

thats because o meridian it at the tip of giza, just to pass that on to you

By sparky7366 (not verified) on 13 Aug 2012 #permalink

Kmuzu...are you suggesting that we can an energy that could change the frequency of tachyon waves? You're kidding, right? ...and "Multi-dimensional tsunami" doesn't make sense even as a metaphor. Keep drinkin' your bong water...

They failed to mention that the last galactic place alignment earth went through was the time of the great flood, the sinking of Atlantis. Our DNA is changin, we are starting to wake up, and we are slowly increasing our vibrations.

But don't listen to me I'm just crazy. Those Damn hippies! It's OK we will be waiting for you when you all wake up.

By anonymous (not verified) on 01 Sep 2012 #permalink

Well at least you know you're crazy.

It's a start.

The sun pulses as it goes through the plane...

Get ready.

All suns pulse throughout their lives.

Stars are held up by the reaction in the core, the core reaction goes down when the pressure in the core goes down, so the surround collapses, pressure increases and the reactions go up quickly, but there's a lot of mass there, so it takes time to stop moving, so it goes a little too far, which means that the stellar core expands from the excess production, reducing the pressure and we have a large mass moving out which takes time to stop and come back in.

A pulse.

And not because it passes through any arbitrary location in space.

My concern is not mythical, magical, or hysteria, it's science. My concern is a realignment of the magnetosphere and here is why. The earth has many patterns that occur every so often, such as changing orbits from eliptical to circular, warm periods and cold periods, pole shifts, and magnetic field fluctuations. Most of these have not been recorded because we were not here with our current knowledge to have witnessed them and taken note. When we pass through the galactic plane we don't know what will happen, but I can tell you this, we are over due for something and I can give you many reasons. Even with all the Global warming BS you have been fed all of the deep ocean monitors have shown since deployment that the earth is cooling and the earth is heading into it's normal ICE AGE rotation. Then you have the normal impact of metoers that we have been blessed to avoid so long, and same with supervolcano eruptions like Yellowstone. We are over due for all of these. But my favorite is the scientist that swear nothing is going to happen, when something has happened so many times before. Our Science is infintile at best, we have been told to think one way and people base all their science on a bad base, especially Archeology and History.

Example: About 15yrs ago a diver found a underwater pyramid off the coast of japan( for the intellectually retarded, just google it). It is made of rocks larger and heavier than we can move or cut with todays science and because of it's depth we know it was carved during the last ice age. I would love for scientist to tell me to my face that it was carved by stone age men with clubs wearing animal skinz. Then there is the underwater city they found off the coast of India. It is dating some 37K years old(Two Ice ages ago). They have found a diamond mine in Africa that they are estimating to be dug some 100K yrs ago, did ape people dig diamond mines? What makes more scense is that man has been here for a long time, but man goes through periods of developement and destruction. My only real question now is when will this civilization be detroyed like the ones that previously existed on this planet?

The Myans and Egyptians built objects that would last for thousands of years for a reason. We may never be able to read the heiroglyphs on the Egyptian Pyramids walls, but the Myans gave us a date for a reason, what that reason is is approaching very quickly and we shall soon find out.

I was reading about some Asteroid that was going to be coming around in Feb of 2013 and some scientist typed this Article saying he knew without a doubt that it would not impact earth and mocked people saying it was going to be close enough to knock out our satellites or hit us. Here we are in a Solar Max and a very active one and he was so arrogant about what his opinion was he was willing to insult others to prove his point, yet there are millions of variables in space that in no way can be calculated. This is the problem with our science, it is closed minded and arrogant.

By Exlax Brains (not verified) on 05 Oct 2012 #permalink

Better yet, The Bugs on Clandathu are going to launch a rock at us!

By Exlax Brains (not verified) on 05 Oct 2012 #permalink

"When we pass through the galactic plane we don’t know what will happen"

It won't be the cause of the magnetic poles shifting, I can tell you that.

"the earth is cooling and the earth is heading into it’s normal ICE AGE rotation."

It would, as the milankovich cycle is on a cooling phase, except AGW has put the kybosh on that.

"But my favorite is the scientist that swear nothing is going to happen"

You're going to have to be a LOT more specific.

If you stand still, you will NOT quantum tunnel to China.

So it depends on what you mean by "nothing will happen".

mp to: navigation, search
Sunken formations
Yonaguni formation is located in Japan
Yonaguni formation
Location of Yonaguni formation

"a diver found a underwater pyramid off the coast of japan"

"The Yonaguni Monument is a massive underwater rock formation off the coast of Yonaguni, the southernmost of the Ryukyu Islands, in Japan. There is a debate about whether the site is completely natural, is a natural site that has been modified, or is a manmade artifact."

Care to share how you KNOW it's a pyramid?

"I would love for scientist to tell me to my face that it was carved by stone age men with clubs wearing animal skinz"

Since as you tell it, it was done during the last Ice Age, which is a hella lot sooner than the stone age, and this is what you've been told by scientists, why are you wanting them to deliberately change their story???

"Then there is the underwater city they found off the coast of India"

"Ancient Underwater City Found Off India: Discovery in Bay of ...

Ah, woo-age bollocks.

"The Myans and Egyptians built objects that would last for thousands of years for a reason."

And it is so that after they're dead and gone, someone can pretend that the world will end???

"but the Myans gave us a date for a reason"

And computer scientists gave us a two-digit year for a reason and that reason wasn't because the world would end Dec 31st 1999, hence no need for four digits...

"Here we are in a Solar Max"

Maunder minimum you mean.

"and a very active one"

You mean a very quiet and long-lasting one.

"yet there are millions of variables in space that in no way can be calculated"

Yet this doesn't seem to make you think you've calculated the end of the world on Feb 2013 wrong, does it.

Closed minded arrogance, that is.


Physically, there's no difference between the location of the earth now and it's location after 12/21. The earth is, and has been for a long time, within the region of higher stellar density that is referred to as the galactic plane. What it's crossing on 12/21 is just the dead centerline of that plane. The region of higher stellar density is 2000 light years thick; we're just about at the 1000 light year point.

Further, there's no such thing as an event being "due". That's gambler's fallacy. A comparable statement would be that if you flipped a coin and it showed heads 10 times in a row that tails would somehow be "due". That's BS. The probability of heads would be 50% (assuming, as I do, a fair coin). Similarly, the probabilty of an extraterrestrial impact, a magnetic polarization change or any of the other events you might want to discuss remains unchanged despite any interval of time that has passed since their last occurrance.


I should clarify: the idea of an event being "due" is BS so long as there's no periodic phenomenon underlying the event. The idea of a solar eclipse being due, for instance, makes sense because of the periodic nature of the motion of the earth and moon. As best we can determine, there's no periodicity to any of the events that you describe as being "due", so there's no reason to think any of them are any more or less likely to occur in Dec 2012. It's true that any of these MIGHT occur then. It's also true that this would likely be a coincidence if it did occur, unless of course you're able to give an explanation as to how a change of position wrt an imaginary line could possibly cause them to occur.

isn't it obvious! Its clearly the end of the long count that transitions the governing of our planet from one alien species to another. The previous species chose to leave us to our own devices, however the next lot might not be so accommodating.
Anyway I have some Asgardian weaponry laying around in the loft that might come in handy.

I find it stupendous how people believe such malarchy. It's almost as bad as thinking there is something legitimate about creationist science. rediculous!

Actually the odds are much greater the coin will land on heads after landing on tails 10 times in a row.

Think about it. If you flip the coin 100 times, it should land on the same side ~50%

if it lands on the same side 10 times in a row you have almost 100% odds that it land on the other side in the next 2 tosses, even though the odds are 50/50 in the next toss.

try it & record the results. You will see.

No, tried it.

100 then 100 more and 100 after that.

Heads 52% 58% (not sure what happened there!) and 47%.

It's entertaining to see how people argue the probability of heads vs tails, or the odds of flipping heads after multiple tails. Refer to the "pick a door" scene in the movie 21 ---- each argument is valid, but I think that the argument for probability of a certain result is determined by the language in which you use.

Sure, long term its going to be 50/50. Two results, 100 tries = math says 50. But, if for some reason I flipped 50 heads in a row ( probability of getting 50 heads = 8.8817842 × 10-16), the chances of flipping ANOTHER heads is still.... 50/50. Your chances are the same as the preceding flip.

If I was a gambling man and I saw 50 reds in a row ---- mathematically? I could argue that putting everything on red is the right choice, and I could argue that black would be the right choice as well...

I'd go black.

Back to the topic of the end of the world ---- its going to come by ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE.

Mathematical probability and increasing your chances of a

If you saw 50 reds in a row, you could better describe your odds as better betting on red. Not black. There's no reason for black to come up because you would have been wrong 50 times before.

Your bet is either that there is a non-fair system running (in which case your information would be "go red"), or that there is some agent changing the odds (in which case you need to see why they are changing the odds and bet to whatever that entity wants to happen next. I.e. if they want you to lose, then you have a 0% chance betting on red and a 0% betting or black. So you STILL shouldn't bet on black because you will STILL lose).


That's the fallacy. There is still a 50% chance of red coming up even after the 50 consecutive reds (assuming a fair roulette wheel and ignoring the fact that the probability of red isn't really 50%, it's a few percent lower because of the 0 and 00 on the wheel.)

The thinking goes something like this: I would expect to see 51 consecutive reds only 1 time in 2^51 occasions on which I observed 51 spins of a roulette wheel. This is a fantastically low chance of occurring, so I should bet against it.

The problem with this logic is that we have already postulated a fantastically improbable event, namely that 50 consecutive reds have occurred. Essentially, you're already half way to the event that you originally thought was so improbable that it would be almost certain to not occur.

In more mathematical terms, let A be the event that 50 consecutive reds appear on the wheel and B be the event that 51 consecutive reds appear. P(A) = 2^-50, and P(B) = 2^-51. Then, the probability of a 51st consecutive red after 50 reds appear is the conditional probability P(B|A) = P(B)/P(A), which numerically is equal to 2^-51/2^-50 = 2^-1, ie 1/2.

If you're less mathematically inclined, then there's another argument for the probability being 1/2. How does the roulette wheel know that the last 50 spins turned up red? What is remembering these outcomes, the ball, the wheel, something else? Unless you have some weird mystical view of the universe in which inantimate objects have memories, the probabilty of a red appearing on a roulette wheel cannot depend on past spins.


Nope. The odds are not almost 100% of the coin landing heads in the next two tosses. Your language is unclear (by mathematical standards anyway). Do you mean that the odds are almost 100% of the coin landing heads on BOTH of the next two tosses, on exactly one of the next two tosses or on at least one of the next two tosses? The odds are different for all three of these scenarios. For both tosses, the probability is 25%, for exactly one it's 50% and for at least one it's 75%. If you meant at least one, then that's probably why you found your hypothesis to be correct more than half the time; it is expected to be correct 3/4 of the time.

The problem you are having is that, like most who fall for the gambler's fallacy, you are postulating an event that's fairly improbable and then basing probabilty calculations without regard to the improbability of the event that you've already postulated. In other words, you postulate an event with a probability of 1/1024. You might argue (correctly) that if you flip a coin 20 times, there's only about a 2% chance that there would be 15 or more heads on those 20 flips. You then make a mistake and conclude that after 10 heads have flipped, there is only a 2% chance that there would be at least 5 heads on the next 10 flips. The mistake you made is that you haven't considered that most of the improbability of flipping 15 out of 20 heads has already occured during the initial run of 10 heads in a row. In fact, the probability of flipping 5 out of 10 heads is the same no matter what the result of the previous 10 flips was, namely a bit over 62%. If that's not true, then please explain to me how the coin remembers that it landed heads the previous 10 times, and how it modifies it's flipping behavior to exhibit the changed probabilities that this memory requires.

"Two results, 100 tries = math says 50."

Math says the Expected Value is 50, but it also says the Standard Deviation is 5, and you have a 68% chance of falling within +/- one Standard Deviation of the Expected Value. And a non-zero chance of seeing 100 heads. And then 100 more after that.

True story: I was in Vegas and had just won about $250 on a single hand of video poker. Deciding to do something slightly more engaging I went to the roulette wheel with $100 of those dollars I was willing to lose.

I bet on black, 9 times in a row. It came up red, 9 times in a row.

For my last bet, I bet on red. Not because I thought red was "due", but more out of annoyance with the God of Randomness.

It came up black.

I have read alot of these 2012 sites and the people who are most against the idea that something big is on the horizon all seem to come from government funded sites like NASA and such. Could it be possible, in order to keep the peace, something may be covered up?? Not to mention, mankind is known to be greedy in the here and now... Just saying, most of these "honest" scientists are speculating based on their funding and the almighty paycheck, so smart they're stupid!

It could be something like "People working at NASA are working on and have been educated in the space sciences and know that the 2012 is no more the end of the world than 999 or 1999 were. Moreover, this sort of research doesn't make any money or give a known ROI so are ignored by the private industry, therefore being done mostly by governments or public bodies".

Speculating then jumping to a conclusion "so smart they're stupid" is so dumb it's really fucking dumb.

Your dumb. For thinking that nothing happens at the equatorial center of the milky way galaxy. Have you ever flushed a toilet on either side of the equator. Anyone whose ever observed this knows this as the coriolis effect. Newton's laws of motion govern the motion of an object in a (non-accelerating) inertial frame of reference. When Newton's laws are transformed to a uniformly rotating frame of reference, the coriolis and centrifugal forces appear. Earth is literally a magnet, and the super black hole at the center of the milky way spins at such a speed that it creates a lateral plane of gravity through the galaxy. Evidence suggests that every 26,000 years as we pass through the equatorial center of the milky way galaxy a polar shift occurs. Soil and ice samples from all around the world has proven these events. Whoever wrote this article was extremely misinformed about the procession sequences. The mayan calender is actually only a few seconds off of the atomic calendar in switzerland.

That is a contraction so you need an apostrophe to denote the missing letters. "You're".

You're dumb for thinking that there is a tiny little region that would be "the equatorial centre of the milky way". At our location, would that be the mass centre or the volume? In the time spent progressing to this, that value changes.

And so on.

"Have you ever flushed a toilet on either side of the equator."

Have you?

Apparently not.

The coriolis force over the distance of the average bathroom sink is so tiny the gravitational pull of your body is bigger. Over kms it's much bigger.

Go and work out the coriolis effect for a bath (bigger than a toilet) at the poles (biggest effect) and work out how long it would take water at the edge at 1g/cc density to accelerate to 1mm per second.

Compare it to the time taken to drain the bath.

You're dumb.

"Evidence suggests that every 26,000 years as we pass through the equatorial center of the milky way galaxy a polar shift occurs."

What evidence? The 26000 year milankovich cycle component isn't us passing through the galactic plane. Events prove a 26000 year cycle element, but not that galactic equator.

The mayan calendar is having its "year 2000" event. It is no more the end of the world for that reason than it was the end of the world in 999 or 1999.

You'll notice we're still here.

First off ,A coin would have diferent wieghts as to heads or tails side of coin as the raised faces are different. The coin would have a magnetic field , the toss would have to be machanical to be reputious .The start would matter (heads or tails up).
Vierouses change as we try to stop them ,as would every thing else in the universe.
The universe is expanding? As you drive towards a city it expands in veiw ,so does the city get bigger or are you closer ??
If there was a god ,(would a parent let childern distroy the house or would they stop them & disapline them) He must be on holidays.
Look after the small things (or study small to see big)let the big ones fall in place.If it is the end we have the space station to repopulate earth . Shit anouther train wreck on its way.
It is wrong for goverments to take money to learn & not share what they learn with puplic money.
Why does nature distroy things? Forest fires change the elemints to enrichen the soil for new growth. Maybe nature wants new growth . It is good to debate these topics so we can see things from the other side. A new view .It always looks diferent from the other side. Keep looking.Life is change


Drink a little less, look after your body and go to sleep.

I think the scariest thought of this whole issue is the solar flare theory. I mean I'm no scientist or historian so I can only google and speculate. Alot of things have been debunked and scientists seem pretty certain that nothing will happen but the fact remains that you can't ever really know. It is my understanding that a big enough solar flare can be potentially devistating to earth *knocks on wood* now according to ancient prophecy "the gods will return". So is it possible that what the ancient mayans saw was an aurora and interpeted them as gods? From what I was read, they are "more rare than once in a life time" and usually indicate a geomagnetic storm or solar flare (not sure which). I have also read that these are virtually unpredictable but could it be that they noticed a pattern that we have not? Idkk. Just a thought/question.

Benny, we don't "know for certain" that the sun won't flare hugely, but we DO know that passing through a geometrically determined location doesn't cause it.

The space we would be passing through then is indistinguishable from the space we've been passing through the last 400 years or more.

The Ancient Mayans had predictions for the year 47000-plus AD.

The calendar ends because they've run out of names.

Not because they're predicting we will run out of time.

its december 21,2012........still here............

By Silly stoner (not verified) on 21 Dec 2012 #permalink

December 24, 2012, still here!!! Christmas eve, yay! xD

Well, incase anyone wanted to know...the earth did end on December 21st 2012. I am able to relay this information via a temporal plane displacement (alternate universe).

Sad that in the final days war and greed dominated your cultures in a pathetic attempt to cling to power instead of spending your last days celebrating life and love.

Oh, well time for a grilled cheese.


what a shame so much energy is put into unnecessary predictions and scaremongering , now is all that counts. are we looking after all around us in this here now?
from where i sit and observe i see pettiness and things totaly inhuman and unfair globally . lets all switch the T.V. back on fill our faces and heads with all this unbelievable crap we the people put up with coupled with the odd bleating moaning .action speaks louder than words .what action are we watching? wars , famines , loss , greed , selfishness, who actually has allowed this world to deteriorate so much? WE HAVE! .and what do we do ? turn our attention away from the real problems around us and look into space , turn the t.v on. go back to sleep those we elect are taking care of us and it all ......unbelievable !

Great article Ethan. Painted a really clear picture. Been hunting for our location relative to the galactic plane. Extra cool bonus points that, of course, like most things in the universe we know about... moves (however slowly in human time).

think the mayan calendar had something to do with the dawning of the age of aqaurius..or us moving into an area of sky where we see different stars..pointing out for all the tits that yes they were off by a few years saying 2012..think is due in 2135 or something round then...definitly in the next 200 years somewhere...its the 12 divisions of the night sky..hence our zodiac..horoscopes bullshitt on earth....1st of all...3 comments since 2012 after all the bullshitt from the doomsdayers,..lol....maybe their world ended in the sense they realised iot was time to start living..cuase thats the truth....all the affore mentions probabilites possibilites of death or wrath on earth...commets yelowstone the mayans ...the galactic plane crossing...we are moving other stars and planets also up down forward around the centre...of a black hole thats eventualy going to absorb all around it inot what we assume nothing...so if the monsters under your bed, the comets, nukes, global warming or natural disaster famine solar flairs or yellowstone a super volcanoe , ice ages, or any other unknown unforseen cosmic chaos doesnt and hasnt taken us out yet...maybe just maybe who gives a fook cause we wont in a realistic time sense of the world be around long enough to do anything about the final ending anyway....the blackhole!....what points all the bitchin gonna do...yano....dudism dude! rock on

Greetings. I come from the future - 2014 to be precise - and I bring good tidings: the earth, and all living things on it, survives 2012.

By The Time Traveller (not verified) on 07 Sep 2014 #permalink

I think our solar system had entered the galaxy plain hundred thousand years ago many times. May be our solar system took about 20 thousand years to go through the galaxy plain and during that times the Earth encountered many disasters like earth quakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, severe climate changing, meteors clashes and many other disasters. That's why the human civilisations and their history on those times almost completely destroyed without can be traced until this modern days. May be the only survivors were the cavemen, our ancestors who already forgot of where they came from.

By Ricky Raymond (not verified) on 01 Nov 2014 #permalink

So, what are the forces that causes our solar system to move up and down through the so called 'galactic plane' approximately every 30 million years during its journey round/through the milky way galaxy?

The same forces that cause the planets to go round and round the sun, Jay.

Exactly the same

Ricky, over thousands of years, the earth encountered many disasters like earth quakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, severe climate changing, meteors clashes and many other disasters and was NOT in the galactic plane.

The location of the earth wasn't the cause, the length of time selected was the cause. Wait long enough and shit happens.

Factually incorrect. The solar system passed through the galactic plane several million years ago and we are now several million light years "north " of the galactic plane. We will be for another 30 million years or so. Have a nice day.

There is a panet 26 light yrs away we could live on next to the star pi3 orionis we just need to use the kings chamber of the great pyramid to fax us there

The planet is 5th of 11 planets and is perfect for life as we know it

Thats the closest place to go thats why the aztecs,mayans hopi&egyptions all built monuments to look like orion

Pi3orionis has a planet to live on we could go r

There is a panet 26 light yrs away we could live on next to the star pi3 orionis we just need to use the kings chamber of the great pyramid to fax us there

Nah, that's used to store grain.

Or are you a Ptolomaic [to] Orion Emitter poster?

Wow I'm from 1954 and it's 2016 now, I guess you'all were wrong about that 2012 Mayan crap...How about that...

Who were all wrong about it?

Science didn't credit it with any validity.

The Mayans never said it meant the end of the world (indeed they had "predictions" that are yet to come to due date, well after this "end of the world".

It was nothing more than people predicting the end of the world, like the all do whenever they thing they can get attention for it.

Who, lets see The time traveller, bigtruth, however I do agree with you on 1 point, it is a bunch of people looking for attention!

Well, the time traveller was telling the truth. We do survive 2012.