The End of the World – Or Is It?

Sahana Narayan, staff writer

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The end is here! On September 23, 2017, the great Planet Nibiru will crash into the Earth, triggering a huge reaction of earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcano eruptions! Brace yourselves! Find the nearest volcano shelter! Better yet, board a spacecraft to the moon and hide there while Nibiru completely annihilates everyone on Earth! No mortal is safe!

… Oh, wait. September 23 has already passed. We happen to be back in school now, safely away from all that melodrama and apocalyptic prophetic warnings. Everything’s going as humanely planned; the world didn’t actually end, and we still have to take all of our tests and do homework that we thought was never going to happen. Pardon!

Why all the paranoia? For those of you who still have no idea what was supposed to happen, the details are a bit complicated, but basically, a self-proclaimed prophet known as David Meade predicted that the world was going to end. He claimed it would happen in a year when there would be “signs in the sun, moon, and stars” (hence the solar eclipse that happened exactly 33 days prior to the apocalyptic date) and a year when there was “anguish and perplexity at the… tossing of the seas” (hence the thousands of hurricanes that have happened this year). The actual date was pinpointed from a date marker on the Egyptian pyramids of Giza. Because of this, some astrologists and self-proclaimed prophets were absolutely convinced that the world was going to end.

Now, at this point, you could identify with the first group of people who says: “What an absolute load of nonsense! I’ve got better things to waste my time on, such as preparing for the insanely hot weather this week!” But if you’re like me, and you were thinking/hoping that the world was going to end on September 23rd, then we have to ask ourselves: what went wrong this time?

Need I point out that this is hardly the first time someone has predicted the untimely ending of the world? It has happened many times in history before: in December 1999, many people thought that the world was going to end, because of the new millennium. In May 2003, another group of people thought that Nibiru was going to collide with Earth, but that never happened, either. The date was then pushed to December 21, 2012, which was the last date on the Mayan calendar (even though the Mayans never actually predicted the apocalypse). Oh, and let’s not forget Issac Newton, who foresaw through some biblical prophecy that the world was going to end in 2060. Those are only a few of the vast apocalyptic prophecies that have been made over the years.

Also, the signs in the stars were not exactly specific. In the “prophecy”, it was stated that on September 23, the sun and the moon would both be visible in the constellation of Virgo, as well as the constellation Leo (which has nine main stars, according to the prophets) and the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. It was believed that this unique celestial arrangement would form itself to show a woman “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars”. The “twelve stars” on her head are made up of the nine principal stars of Leo, as well as Mercury, Venus, and Mars (which look like stars in the night sky). It was believed that this woman symbolized the total annihilation, cleansing, and rebirth of the world as we know it.

Except, as it seems, there are some factual inaccuracies with this prediction. First off, Leo doesn’t have nine principal stars; it has ten. That would make the count of crown jewels at thirteen. Secondly, the presence of both the sun and the moon in Virgo’s constellation is very common. The moon’s orbit is roughly about 27 days long, and so the moon is seen in Virgo about once a month. Because the Earth’s orbit is yearly, the sun appears to pass through Virgo once a year, always in September. Since the moon’s orbit is monthly and the sun’s orbit is yearly, the combination of the sun, moon, and Virgo together in the sky happens every year.

I hate to be a downer, but when the actual apocalypse happens, it won’t be because of global warming or Yellowstone supervolcanoes or any of those other scare-tactics. It will be boring. The sun is going to grow into a red giant, and gradually swallow up Earth over a few billion years. Big deal. We’ll all be dead by then, so it really doesn’t matter.

And yes, things do seem pretty apocalyptic now, what with all of those earthquakes and hurricanes happening this summer. But the world isn’t going to end because of that. Hurricanes have been natural occurrences far before humans were around, and they will continue to be. The world will end someday, but not because of a collision with a planet that doesn’t even exist in real life.

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