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Doomsday predictions draw debunkers, parties in Oklahoma

Experts discuss Dec. 21 end of Mayan “long calendar.”
by Carla Hinton Modified: December 19, 2012 at 8:02 pm •  Published: December 20, 2012

Wayne Harris-Wyrick, director of the Kirkpatrick Planetarium at Science Museum Oklahoma, said he gets peppered every day with questions.

He said he is unsure how people have made the jump from the carved-stone calendar's end to the end-of-the-world prophecy.

“It's simply a gross exaggeration or it's just plain wrong,” Harris-Wyrick said.

Harris-Wyrick said people have told him they heard that there will be an alignment of the sun with the center of the Milky Way galaxy which will cause the end of the world. He also said he has heard the Mayan doomsday prophecy connected to a predicted alignment of planets.

Harris-Wyrick said the prediction that the world will end when the sun aligns with the Milky Way galaxy is interesting. He said there is a time when the sun is closest to the galaxy's equator or aligned but it happens every year — not on Dec. 21 but about Dec. 19.

He said, historically, the sun goes through an 11-year cycle when solar storms could cause overload of electrical circuits and grids on Earth. He said this is called “solar max” but it is about two years away and many things have been done to prevent problems with electrical grids.

Harris-Wyrick said planets never line up in the sense that they are going to be in a straight line. He said what will happen is Venus, Mercury and Saturn will form, more or less, a line at sunrise, but it is a line when viewed from Earth, not an actual alignment.

Harris-Wyrick said historical records indicate the Mayans themselves did not predict the end of the world when one of their Long Count calendars ended. Instead, they viewed the calendar's end as a time of renewal.

“From their point of view, it wasn't an end, it was a beginning, so I've never understood why people thought was going to be an apocalypse,” Harris-Wyrick said.

Hitchcock said he encourages people to look to the Bible for answers and God does not reveal the date for the end of the world. “I think part of the reason for that is He wants us always to be ready,” he said.

Moorman said her friends and family members have been teasing her for about two years now about her birthday coinciding with “doomsday.”

She said she has taken it in stride and sees some good in it even if the world were to end on her birthday.

“If it happens, I never turn 40,” she said.

by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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