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Not the end of the world, but…

By Tony Staffieri
December 19, 2012

December 21, the Friday before Christmas, marks the winter solstice, a date that also looms large for the so-called Mayan “end-of-the-world” prediction. Despite what you may have heard, the Maya did not predict the end of the world. What these ancient “astronomers” did do was produce highly accurate and complex astronomical calendars (and there were many) that predicted events such as solar eclipses, transits of the sun by Venus (a rare occurrence) and other celestial happenings.

This year, there was news about a newly discovered Mayan calendar that refutes all the myth and hype surrounding the calendar that’s causing all the brouhaha. An archeological expedition in Guatemala that began in 2010 uncovered a Mayan calendar that is 600 years older than any previously known, and (more importantly) it tracks time for over 7,000 years, extending well beyond this Christmas. That’s the good news.

The Mayan “prophecy” and the publicity that surrounds it, however, are obscuring a real warning about important celestial events we should all be concerned about. These warnings come from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Scientists who watch the heavens, know that the sun erupts in cycles approximately every 11 years. Commonly called sunspots, these solar storms are really huge ejections of electromagnetic energy (coronal mass ejections or CMEs) that explode as solar flares out into space. When a cycle reaches its peak, it is called a solar maximum, and for the last few years, NASA has been predicating a very serious solar maximum to take place from late 2012 through early 2013. In fact, on November 16 this year, two massive CMEs occurred four hours apart. They were so large they were referred to as “solar storm tsunamis.” Fortunately, these CMEs missed earth, but NASA caught the whole thing on tape, and it’s chilling. (www.space.com/18533-giant-sun-eruption-nasa-video.html)

So, you may ask—with the sun 93 million miles away, what can a solar flare possibly do to us?