End of the World
Why the world didn’t end yesterday. Nasa explains
- Published: 22/12/2012 at 07:34 AM
- Online news:
Of course the world didn’t end yesterday. Those who thought it would didn’t understand what the ancient Mayan calendar was all about. Nasa scientists explain in this four-minute video. (Includes transcript)
This video was prepared by Nasa scientists to explain why we are still here on December 22, the day after some people believed the world was going to end. Now, that “doomsday” has passed and we are still here, it makes very good viewing.
You can see the text as you watch the video (click on the “cc” symbol if the text doesn’t appear) but to make it even easier for you I have included the whole transcript and have explained words that you might not know. Thus, this becomes a very good English lesson as well as a science lesson.
Why the world didn’t end yesterday, presented by Science@Nasa.
Dec. 22, 2012: If you’re watching this video, it means one thing: The World Didn’t End Yesterday.
According to media reports of an ancient Maya prophecy, the world was supposed to be destroyed on Dec. 21, 2012. But look around you.
“The whole thing was a misconception from the very beginning,” says Dr. John Carlson, director fo the Center for Archaeoastronomy.
“The Maya calendar did not end of Dec. 21, 2012, and there were no Maya prophecies foretelling the end of the world on that date.”
The truth, he says, is more interesting than fiction.
Carlson is a hard-nosed scientist – a radio astronomer who earned his degree studying distant galaxies. He became interested in the 2012 phenomenon 35 years ago when he attended a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and learned about the Maya.
Where the rain forest of Mesoamerica now stand, a great civilization once flourished. The people of Maya society built vast cities with a population density comparable to modern Los Angeles County. The mastered astronomy and developed an elaborate written language.
Most impressive, to Carson, was their expansive sense of time.
“The times Mayas used dwarf those currently used by modern astronomers,” he explains. “According to our science, the Big Bang occurred 13.7 billion years ago.
There are dates in Mayan ruins that stretch back a billion billion times farther than that.”
The Maya Long Count Calendar was designed to keep track of such long intervals.
“It is the most complex calendar system ever developed.”
Written using modern typography, the Long Count Calendar resembles the odometer in a car. Because the digits rotate, the calendar can ‘roll over’ and repeat itself; this repetition is key to the 2012 phenomenon.
According to Maya theology, the world was created 5125 years ago, on a date we would write ‘August 11, 3114 BC.’
At the time, the Maya calendar looked like this: 184.108.40.206.0. On Dec. 21, 2012, it is exactly the same: 220.127.116.11.0.
In the language of Maya scholars, ’13 Bak’tuns’ elapsed between the two dates. This was a significant interval in Maya theology, but, stresses Carlson, not a destructive one.
None of the thousands of ruins, tablets, and standing stones that archeologists have examined foretell an end of the world.
Modern science agrees. NASA experts recently gathered in a Google hangout to share their findings.
Don Yeomans, head of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program, stated that no known asteroids or comets were on a collision course with Earth. Neither is a rogue planet coming to destroy us.
“If there were anything out there like a planet headed for Earth,” said NASA astrobiologist David Morrison, “it would already be [one of the] brightest objects in the sky.
Everybody on Earth could see it. “You don’t need to ask the government, just go out and look. It’s not there.”
Lika Guhathakurta, head of NASA’s Living With a Start Program, said the sun is not a threat, either.
“The sun has been flaring for billions of years – long before the Maya even existed – and it has never once destroyed the world.”
“Right now the sun is approaching the maximum of its 11-year activity cycle,” she added. “But this is the wimpiest solar cycle of the past 50 years. Reports to the contrary are exaggerated.”
To Carlson, Dec. 21, 2012, is not a day of dread. On the contrary, he says, “I have been waiting to experience this day for more than 30 years.”
For him, ‘experiencing Dec. 21, 2012’ means visiting the Maya homeland in the Yucatan, and thinking back to the height of Maya civilization, when ancient humans contemplated expanses of time orders of magnitude beyond modern horizons.
And, of course, appreciating the fact that The World Didn’t End Yesterday.
doomsday – the last day of the world วันโลกาวินาศ, วาระสุดท้าย
media – radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group สื่อ
prophecy – a statement that something will happen in the future การทำนาย, การพยากรณ์
misconception – a belief or an idea that is not based on correct information, or that is not understood by people ความเข้าใจผิด
astronomy – the scientific study of the stars, planets, and other objects in the universe ดาราศาสตร์
archaeoastronomy – the study of ancient methods and reasons for studying the stars and planets
foretell – to know or say what will happen in the future, especially by using magic powers ทำนาย, คาดการณ์ล่วงหน้า
fiction – a type of literature that describes imaginary people and events, not real ones บันเทิงคดี, นวนิยาย, เรื่องเล่า
hard-nosed – not affected by feelings when trying to get what you want ไม่ยอมง่ายๆ, ดื้อ
radio astronomy – the study of the invisible universe by detecting radio waves from objects in space
galaxy – any of the large systems of stars, etc. in outer space กลุ่มดาวกาแล็กซี, ดาราจักร
phenomenon (plural phenomena) – something that exists and can be seen, felt, tasted, etc., especially something which is unusual or interesting ปรากฏการณ์
civilization – a society, its culture and its way of life during a particular period of time or in a particular part of the world อารยธรรม,การมีวัฒนธรรมประเพณี
flourish – to grow or develop successfully เจริญรุ่งเรือง, เจริญเติบโต
vast – extremely large in area, size, amount, etc. กว้างใหญ่, มหาศาล
density – the amount of something in a place ความหนาแน่น
master – to learn or understand something completely เข้าใจถ่องแท้, รู้อย่างละเอียด
elaborate – containing a lot of careful detail or many detailed parts อย่างรอบคอบ, ละเอียด, ที่บรรจง
impressive – something that people admire because it is very good, very large or shows great skill ซึ่งน่าประทับใจ
expansive – very wide; covering a large subject area ไพศาล, กว้างขวาง
dwarf – to make something seem small or unimportant ทำให้ดูเล็กลงหรือไม่สำคัญ
Big Bang – the single large explosion that some scientists suggest created the universe บิ๊กแบง
ruins – the remains of a building that has been badly damaged or destroyed ซากปรักหักพัง
keep track of – to have or get all the information that you need about something ติดตาม, เฝ้าสังเกต
interval – a period of time between two events ช่วงเวลา
complex – having a lot of details or small parts that make it difficult to understand or deal with ซับซ้อน
typography – the art or work of preparing books, etc. for printing, especially of designing how text will appear when it is printed การพิมพ์
resemble – to be like or look like someone or something else มีลักษณะคล้ายกับ
odometer – an instrument in a vehicle that measures the number of miles it has travelled เครื่องมือวัดระยะทางที่ผ่าน
digit – any one of the ten numbers 0 to 9 ตัวเลข (0 ถึง 9)
rotate – to move in a circle around a fixed central point, or to move something in this way หมุน
theology – a set of religious beliefs; the study of religion and beliefs เทววิทยา, วิชาว่าด้วยการศาสนา
elapse – (of time) to pass ผ่านไป
significant – large or important enough to have an effect or to be noticed ซึ่งมีความหมาย
stress – to emphasise something such as an idea, fact or detail; to explain why something is important เน้น
destructive – causing great damage or harm ซึ่งเป็นการทำลาย
archeologist – a scientist who studies ancient societies, done by looking at tools, bones, buildings, and other things from that time that have been found นักโบราณคดี
gather – to come together in a group รวมกลุ่ม, รวมตัวกัน, จับกลุ่มกัน, ชุมนุม
asteroid – any one of the many small planets that go around the sun กลุ่มวัตถุในอวกาศที่มีเส้นผ่านศูนย์กลางประมาณ 1-480 ไมล์ หรือน้อยกว่าโคจรอยุ่ระหว่างดาวอังคารกับดาวพฤหัส
comet – a mass of ice and dust that moves around the sun and looks like a bright star with a tail ดาวหาง
collision – two or more objects hitting each other การชนกัน
collision course – the path an object is moving that will cause it to collide with another object
rogue – behaving in an unusual and possibly dangerous way ที่น่าสงสัยว่าจะก่อให้เกิดอันตราย
planet – a large round object in space that moves around a star (such as the sun) and receives light from it ดาวเคราะห์
astrobiology – the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe
threat – a danger อันตราย
flare – to suddenly send out a bright flame ลุกไหม้อย่างรวดเร็ว
approach – to move or come closer เข้าใกล้
maximum – the most possible ที่สูงสุด ที่มากที่สุด
cycle – the fact of a series of events being repeated many times, always in the same order วงจร, วัฏจักร, ระยะเวลายาวนาน
wimpy – not strong, brave or confident อ่อนแอ
solar – involving the sun เกี่ยวกับดวงอาทิตย์
contrary –completely different or opposed to something else ตรงข้าม
exaggerate – to describe something in a way that makes it seem better, worse, larger, more important etc than it really is กล่าวเกินจริง
dread – a fear of something bad that might happen or that is going to happen ความน่ากลัว
contemplate – to think carefully about and accept the possibility of something happening; to think about whether you should do something, or how you should do something พิจารณา, คิด
orders of magnitude – many times greater than
horizons – the limit of your knowledge, desires or interests ขอบเขตความรู้, ประสบการณ์
appreciate – to understand that something is true ตระหนัก, เห็นคุณค่า, สำนึกคุณค่า
About the author
- Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager