|Posted by End Of The World Predictions on December 16, 2012 at 12:45 AM|
Will Galactic Alignment cause the earth to experience natural disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, asteroid collision or maybe even a pole shift! Could a sudden galactic alignment on December 21, 2012 cause the earth be sucked into the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way galaxy through extra gravitational forces?
Before answering these questions it’s important to understand that there are two kinds of galactic alignment which people have been speaking of when talking about a December 21, 2012 end of the world doomsday. These two kinds of galactic alignment are explained just below (numbers 1 and 2) in simple and non-scientific words.
(1) Our sun lines up between the earth and the centre of the Milky Way galaxy
(2) Our solar system lines up with the center of the Milky Way galaxy
Let’s have a closer look at these two kinds of galactic alignment and see if there is anything we should be worried about.
Galactic Alignment – Type I
It is claimed that on December 21, 2012, there will be a galactic alignment when the sun rises above the horizon on this date. The claim is that at this time, the sun will be in alignment between the earth and the center of the Milky Way galaxy. This is in fact true! Will it cause catastrophes on earth? We will look at that in a moment. What is also true is that this kind of galactic alignment (an alignment of cosmic bodies in our galaxy) happens every year at the time of the winter solstice (when winter starts turning towards summer) in the Northern hemisphere (for countries nearer the North Pole).
So, how does a solstice work? The word “solstice” comes from two Latin words: sol = sun, and sistere = stand still. A solstice is when the sun appears to stand still (when looking at it from the earth). It ‘stands still’ before appearing to reverse its direction from being further away from earth (which brings the winter season) to being closer to the earth (which brings the summer season). It’s not actually the sun that moves, but rather the way the earth is tipped on its axis away from the sun (bringing winter) or towards the sun (bringing summer).
So, December 21, is the day of the winter solstice for the Northern hemisphere in 2012. But guess what? There is also a good chance that it will be the date of the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere in 2013, 2014, 2015…. This is because the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere happens around December 20-23 EVERY YEAR!
Hopefully you can see from this that this kind of galactic alignment is not going to cause any problems. It’s just the earth spinning on it’s axis as it does every year bringing the seasonal changes. It has nothing to do with the movement of the sun or other cosmic forces in the universe. Rather, it happens because this is the time when the earth’s North Pole is tipped furthest from the sun before it starts to tip towards the sun. In other words, winter is about to turn to summer for those countries closer to the North Pole!
Another point worth thinking about is that on December 21, 2012 the sun is actually 6.6 degrees north of the galactic centre so it is not even perfectly lined up at this time. On top of that, in 2012 the sun is actually more closely aligned with the galactic centre about two days before December 21!
So it’s all just a lot of hype over something that happens every year when winter turns towards summer in the northern hemisphere. It’s nothing to worry about.
Galactic Alignment – Type II
Before explaining the second type of galactic alignment, we need to have a closer look at our solar system which our solar system is a part of.
First of all, our galaxy, called the Milky Way, is a spiral galaxy made up of 200-400 billion stars. It is believed to be travelling through space at a speed of around 1.3 million miles per hour. That’s fast! There are more stars in the centre of this galaxy than at the outer edges. The center is also is thicker than the outer edges making it bulge. It would take about 100,000 years travelling at the speed of light to get from one side of the Milky Way to the other.
Secondly, our solar system with its sun and 8 planets (some planets, like the earth, have moons) is part of the Milky Way galaxy along with many other solar systems. Our solar system is around 28,000 light years from the centre of the Milky Way galaxy; this puts it just over half way between the centre and the edge.
Now, here’s where it gets just a little bit tricky. I’m going to try and explain this second type of galactic alignment. If you don’t ‘get it’ straight away, hold on for the pizza explanation
Here goes… Just like the Milky Way galaxy is moving through the universe, our solar system is believed to move around the centre of the Milky Way galaxy around every 225 million years. At the same time as it moves around the galaxy, it is also believed to be moving move in an up and down motion. Scientists believe that because of this up and down motion, that around every 33 million years (not light years but ordinary years) the centre of our solar system lines up with the plane of the galactic centre. You’re lost right! OK, pizza to the rescue.
Imagine the Milky Way galaxy is a meat lover’s pizza with extra toppings in the middle. Now imagine that our solar system is a piece of meat half way between the centre and the edge. I know, it’s a big pizza. Now imagine that this piece of meat (our solar system) is moving up and down on the pizza as the pizza cooks. So if you were looking at the pizza side on (from the edge to the centre) you would sometimes see this piece of meat (our solar system) sitting just on top of the cheese. Other times it would look as if it was coming out of the bottom of the pizza. And sometimes, you wouldn’t be able to see it at all because it was exactly lined up between the edge and the centre of the pizza.
That flat straight line (or plane) between the EDGE of the pizza and the CENTRE of the pizza is like the flat plane of the Milky Way galaxy – which is called the galactic plane (sometimes the galactic equator or dark rift – dark rift since there are more stars in this central area).
As I said before, scientists believe that our solar system moves above and below this galactic plane (like the meat on the pizza). So that means that sometimes our solar system is above the galactic plane, sometimes it’s below the galactic plane and SOMETIMES it’s perfectly lined up between the edge of the galaxy and the black hole in the centre: this is the second type of galactic alignment.
So, will there be a Galactic Alignment of this type on December 21, 2012. And if so, will this cause any extra gravitational force on the earth that might create natural disasters or suck the earth into the black hole in the centre of the Milky Way galaxy? The answer is no, for two reasons.
First, according to the journal Nature (and many other scientific journals) the earth has already (recently) crossed the plane of the galactic centre and is not due to do this again for another 30 million years! Now while I don’t believe the earth is millions of years old the point is that a galactic alignment of this type is believed to have already happened and will not be happening again anytime soon!
Secondly, gravitational forces do not increase when the sun is in alignment with the galactic centre. The strongest gravitational force affecting the earth is the sun which is 93 million miles from the earth. And even though there is a stronger gravitational force coming from the black hole in the centre of the Milky Way galaxy, that force is an amazing 165 QUADRILLION miles from the earth.
So any slight movement by the earth that far away from the Milky Way’s black hole, is not going to cause us any problems. Hopefully this blog has answered your questions about whether the earth is in danger of any kind of galactic alignment.
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