I’ve already blogged about how the movie “2012”‘s viral marketing campaign caused some irrational fear through fake sites purporting to be actual science organizations, and talk about “Planet X”, Nibiru, the Mayan calendar, the year 2012 and other doomsday scenarios continues.
Here’s a nice overview and quick take down of all that nonsense by astrobiologist David Morrison in the December 2009 Skeptical Inquirer.
From the second link:
As the story grows in complexity, many more doomsday scenarios are being suggested, often unrelated to Nibiru. These include a reversal of the Earth’s magnetic field, severe solar storms associated with the eleven-year solar cycle (which may peak in 2012), a reversal of Earth’s rotation axis, a 90 degree flip of the rotation axis, bombardment by large comets or asteroids, and bombardment by gamma rays or various unspecified lethal rays coming from the center of the Milky Way Galaxy or the “dark rift” seen in a nearby galactic spiral arm. A major theme has become celestial alignments, which fascinate laypersons. Supposedly, the Sun will align with the galactic center (or maybe with the Milky Way Dark Rift) on December 21, 2012, subjecting us to potentially deadly forces.
I continue to receive several email questions every day about Nibiru and 2012, sent to the NASA Web site “Ask an Astrobiologist”. See the sidebar for some examples received during just two weeks in May 2009. Many questioners are frightened, angry, or both. To my surprise, I have not seen much evidence that other scientists or skeptics are concerned about this growing outbreak of pseudoscience. More than a hundred past replies of mine are posted on the astrobiology Web site and also referenced on the NASA home page. A few news blogs such as Yahoo also provide truthful answers, but these are drowned out by the 2012 hysteria. I give credit to Wikipedia, which has several entries on Nibiru, including a very good overview of the pseudoscience under “Nibiru collision.” But questions keep streaming in, and I fear this will not be my last update on this subject.