December 21: Doomsday or Just Another Day
We turn to local sky and star watchers for their take on the predicted big unplug — the end of the world, Dec. 21, 2012.
The prediction has loomed as a popular culture milestone the past several years now.
The kind of milestone that marks no more miles.
A coming attraction to end all coming attractions.
The big unplug.
The world ends on Dec. 21, 2012.
The apocalyptic forecast points to, among other things, the Mayan calendar, and its supposed end.
Poppycock, says the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.
"Their (the Mayan) calendar does not end on Dec. 21, 2012," a lab spokesman said earlier this year. "It's just the end of the cycle and the beginning of a new one.
"It's just like on Dec. 31st, our calendar comes to an end but a new calendar for the next year begins on Jan. 1st."
The lab goes on to rebuff other theories — a solar storm, another planet hitting the earth — pointing the end of days on Dec. 21.
We turned to some local sky watchers. A local astronomer, James Keating — who designed the Sun Circle at Preston Beach — and our local weather person, George Allen, to see what they think of the doomsday prediction.
"It is nonsense," said James. "It comes from the Mayan Calendar, but the interpretation is wrong. Matter of fact, the Maya, who erected Chichen Itza in the Yucatan, destroyed all their belongings, holy cities, temples etc. every 56 years. This might be the source of the end of the world rumor."
Look for James at the winter solstice celebration at Preston Beach on the 21st.
"If it (the End of the World) does not occur I will be at the Sun Circle on Dec. 21 for the Winter Solstice," he said
George Allen, a scientist who has a weather station at his home above Fisherman's Beach, thought the end was predicted a bit sooner.
"As for the Mayan calendar/EOW, I actually thought it was 12/12/12, so you can tell how closely I've been paying attention, said George.
"I found Harold Camping's predictions about the rapture much more entertaining, where those who had been saved [no doubt by giving Harold a lot of $] would ascend to the heavens as glorious radiant beings, and the rest of us would endure eternal suffering.
"Harold was of course wrong [as are those worried about the end of an ancient calendar] twice last year, but he had to make up an excuse and eventually an apology — something the Mayans won't have to do."
We don't know what the Vegas odds are for the end of days on 12/21 but we think it's a pretty safe bet that if you wager on it happening and you win it will be hard to collect.
In the meantime, we are betting on the world continuing to turn.