News24

No danger of 2012 impact - astronomer

2012-07-26 07:45

Cape Town - An astronomer has indicated that there is no danger from any known astronomical body that may impact the Earth this year.

Many believers in an end of world cataclysm interpret Mayan prophecy to mean that a huge comet or rogue planet will impact the Earth on 21 December 2012, causing worldwide devastation.

"It's not going to happen - I'm willing to bet all my life's savings on that," Dr Nicola Loaring outreach astronomer at the South African Astronomical Observatory told News24.

She said that interpretation of ancient prophecies does not match observed data from observatories and government agencies around the world.

"And the whole Mayan thing, as far as I'm aware, the calendar stops in 2012 and people have interpreted that. It could just be that they only decided to work up until 2012 because they figured they could do the rest of it later," she said.

Impact

Author Zecharia Sitchin in his book The 12th Planet proposed that a planet called Nibiru has an extremely elliptical orbit of 3 600 years was on course to collide with the Earth.

Many followers believe that the supposed impact will occur in December because of the interpretation of the Mayan calendar. End-of-the-world disasters are also common themes in pop culture and movies like The Day After Tomorrow reached blockbuster status.

Loaring said that detailed surveys of the sky revealed no objects that could cause mass devastation on Earth.

"There's no evidence whatsoever for any kind of huge big body that's going to impact us. We have Spaceguard which is like a whole load of different observatories and also they use satellites to survey the sky and try and find all the near Earth objects [NEOs] that could come close or possibly collide with the Earth."

On 23 July an object named 2011 CA7 with an estimated diameter of 5m came within 22 million kilometres of Earth but a bigger object named 2006 CF will pass at about six million kilometres on 27 July. It is about 480m in diameter.

The moon is about 384 400km from the Earth.

Agencies that study the orbits of NEOs usually assign a minimum probably to impact, but as more observations are conducted, the orbit is refined and the object is usually removed from the threat list.

"Sometimes, they'll start off saying something could possibly hit the Earth and a few weeks later they'll say: 'Oh no, it's going to miss,' said Loaring.

On the Torino Scale, Nasa complies a list of objects that may strike the Earth 100 years into the future and there is no danger of an imminent impact.

Visible


The scale uses a grading from 0 to 10 where "0" means no risk and "10" indicates a planet-wide catastrophe within a span of less than 100 years.

A large body that could cause an extinction event in December would be visible by now, said Loaring.

"If there was an object that was huge and was something that could hit the Earth and cause it to change its orbit, we would have seen it - and we haven't.

"There's no need to worry and, you know, plan your Christmas."


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Comments
  • alayren - 2012-07-26 08:05

    Good news, an asteroid would seriously mess up my december holiday plans

      jack.milosevic - 2012-07-26 08:18

      "It's not going to happen - I'm willing to bet all my life's savings on that," Dr Nicola Loaring. Is this dude for REaL!?! anybody would place a bet like that!! IF it does happen he'll be freaking toast, everybody will be toast including your stupid money

      Rabbler.Rouser - 2012-07-27 16:53

      Every generation has it's deluded doomsday cranks. There will more idiots predicting cataclysmic events next year as well. They are just sensationalists looking for some attention.

  • uwe.klopfer - 2012-07-26 08:25

    Bet your life savings...i would too...If nothing hits I win...If i lose it doesn't matter.. Refer to : http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/The-END-20120504

  • FANNYDNA - 2012-07-26 08:30

    21 december 2012 disaster might take place around earth.

  • antin.herink - 2012-07-26 08:37

    Pfeeew, load of my mind. So not in 2012 then? Sorry for the doomsday sayers. wrong again. 'Better luck next time round.

  • Harold Chisimba - 2012-07-26 08:49

    OOONO! EVEN THE SON OF GOD HIMSELF DOES NOT KNOW, WHEN WILL WORLD END .SO ICANT PANIC.

      Harold Chisimba - 2012-07-26 10:04

      Hie buddy! U know it already.Aren't u?

      Harold Chisimba - 2012-07-26 10:21

      The end of the world to me as achristian means the second coming of Jesus chris.(the judgement day)

      Harold Chisimba - 2012-07-26 10:21

      The end of the world to me as achristian means the second coming of Jesus chris.(the judgement day)

      CaptainGaza - 2012-07-26 13:04

      Ah ha, evidence that jesus was a mortal man, he only came once like the rest of us dudes.

      CaptainGaza - 2012-07-26 13:27

      Repent Sinners, Repent. The End is nigh!!!!

  • Harold Chisimba - 2012-07-26 08:49

    OOONO! EVEN THE SON OF GOD HIMSELF DOES NOT KNOW, WHEN WILL WORLD END .SO ICANT PANIC.

  • zaatheist - 2012-07-26 09:06

    Many Stupid people that believe in an end of world cataclysm interpret Mayan prophecy .......... Fixed.

  • bernd.hammon - 2012-07-26 09:39

    Whew . I am going sailing

  • templar.known - 2012-07-26 10:10

    Oh no, does this mean I should not have spent it all?

  • Harold Chisimba - 2012-07-26 11:23

    God created this world with an aim so He would never let that SO CALLED DEVASTATION 2 take place.Believe it or not.

  • Harold Chisimba - 2012-07-26 11:23

    God created this world with an aim so He would never let that SO CALLED DEVASTATION 2 take place.Believe it or not.

  • Tawizee - 2012-07-26 13:51

    If it doesn't happen in December the doomsday sayers will just postpone the doomsday to another date.

  • stoffels.hoffies - 2012-07-26 17:59

    ...I'm willing to bet all my life's savings on that... how funny....

  • JuliusYouPrick - 2012-10-05 09:01

    "I'm willing to bet all my life's savings on that", Well it's not just you're gonna have to pay if you are wrong!

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