2012 Apocalypse via Galactic Alignment / by Nathalie Ouellette

The X-ray view of the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy. Image credit:  NASA /CXC/MIT/F. Baganoff, R. Shcherbakov et al.

The X-ray view of the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy. Image credit: NASA/CXC/MIT/F. Baganoff, R. Shcherbakov et al.

This is the Doomsday Scenario I’ve personally encountered the most, perhaps because it deals with things seemingly less outrageous than giant planets slamming into our us? As things go about their merry way in space, orbiting about one another, certain alignments are bound to happen. As with anything rare (OMG I JUST SAW A BLACK CAT SLAM INTO A MIRROR UNDER A LADDER WHILE OPENING AN UMBRELLA INDOORS WHAT ARE THE ODDS???), people like giving some significance to these events. Partial planetary alignments occur now and again, but do you know what’s even scarier than a planet? Why, a supermassive black hole(Sagittarius A*, to close friends) at the centre of the Milky Way, of course! Silly you.

Some have been saying that the Mayan calendar has been constructed around the alignment of Earth, the Sun and the Galaxy’s centre, which they say will happen on December 21st 2012, at which point everything will explode, or something. Truth is, it’s not actually going to happen on that date. Even better, were it to happen, Sagittarius A* is just so darn far away from us that it wouldn’t matter. Despite being over a million times more massive than our Sun, the fact that it’s 30,000 light years away means its gravitational effect would be insignificant compared to the pull we feel from our Moon. Even betterer, the actual alignment happened in 1998, so… Unless you count Britney Spears releasing her hit song …Baby One More Time as the apocalypse, I think we came out of that alignment relatively unscathed. Chances are, the same will happen this December (is Britney due for a new album?).