Rogue Planet Nibiru won’t announce kidnapping on April 23

Editor’s Note: A version of this article was originally published ahead of the scheduled apocalypse on September 23, 2017.

As viral videos and various tabloids say, April 23, 2018 will mark the end of an era. Depending on your taste, the date will either cause a collision between Earth and a rogue planet, or a world-changing celestial alignment that heralds the end of time.

Historical and scientific advice: don’t cancel your plans for May.

Humans are once again speaking out about our collective destiny thanks to the fast-burning “new” trends stoked by Google and the marginal predictions of self-published author David Meade. Last fall, Meade’s contested numerology predicted that Earth would encounter a (hypothetical) rogue planet called Nibiru on September 23, 2017.

September 23 came and went without incident, so Meade deferred his prediction to October 2017 and then adjusted his schedule again to November 2017. Now Meade claims he has finally smoothed out the wrinkles in his body. vision of the end of time. Nibiru (sometimes referred to as Planet X) is believed to appear in the sky on April 23 and pass through Earth in October, triggering volcanoes of apocalyptic proportions.

Meade’s predictions, which do not enjoy the support of mainstream Christians, are the latest version of Nibiru’s conspiracy theory, whose roots date back to the 1970s. This planet was originally supposed to collide with Earth in 2003. However, an uncooperative cosmos forced conspiracy theorists to reprogram for 2012. (See miniature models of artists who imagine a world without humans.)

Six years later, the rogue planet still poses no threat because it does not exist.

“Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an Internet hoax,” NASA said in a 2012 statement. “If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with Earth… astronomers l ‘would have followed for at least the last decade, and it would now be visible to the naked eye.

The fault of our stars?

To support his claims, Meade points to an alignment of several planets, the sun and moon, and the constellations of Virgo and Leo that are expected to occur in April, which he says will fulfill a prophecy in the Book of Apocalypse.

Previously, an evangelical Christian publication called unsealed had argued that the Book of Revelation predicted a similar alignment for September 23, 2017. The publication claimed that the alignment heralded the era leading up to the Rapture, the time when many Christians believe the devotee will pass away from the world. Earth to join Jesus in a new paradise.

The cosmic alignments in question are actually happening. But the meaning of astronomy is debatable. The biblical sign depends on the number of stars in play, and even astronomers disagree on the number of stars, for example, that officially make up the constellation Leo. Some star maps have nine, while others, including National Geographic’s Star Atlas, have ten.

Besides, how unique is the alignment? Again, the details are obscure: For a few days in September or October each year, the moon passes near its supposedly predicted position.

In a previous interview, the 2017 roster didn’t look particularly unusual, Colgate University Professor Emeritus Anthony Aveni. Aveni, who specializes in the study of astronomical practices in the ancient world, adds that Virgo was not incorporated into Hebrew astronomy until after the writing of the New Testament.

But Aveni stressed that he was not interested in debunking the apocalyptic claims. Instead, he wants to understand their cultural roots. For example, the religious and cultural traditions of the United States are steeped in millennialism, which focuses on prophecies and apocalypses.

According to Aveni, these types of assertions also seem to come from people who are bored – and actively resist – the natural world’s penchant for chance, opting for narrative clarity instead.

“Everyone wants to know the chemical makeup of the burning bush, or where exactly the Ark of the Covenant is… we want the final story, the end result,” he said in a previous interview.

Tomorrow Tomorrow …

Ultimately, all efforts to decode the universe for signs of predicted doom boils down to interpretation. And for millennia, humans haven’t shown a definite talent for it, as National Geographic reported in 2009:

  • In AD 65, the Roman philosopher Seneca warned that the planet would “burn in [a] universal fire. While Vesuvius buried Pompeii in lava and ash 14 years later, the end was not exactly near for the entire planet.
  • Many 17th-century Christian Europeans feared the world would end in 1666, a year containing the grim Number of the Beast, described in the book of Revelation.
  • The arrival of Halley’s comet in 1910 put some citizens of Rome into such a frenzy that they stockpiled oxygen tanks, fearing that the comet’s tail could poison the Earth’s atmosphere. (Also find out why Newton believed a comet caused Noah’s Flood.)
  • On May 5, 2000, the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn aligned in the sky – a conjunction some authors say would cause earthquakes, volcanoes, and a sudden attack of melting ice. This is not the case.
  • Since 2008, the Large Hadron Collider has obsessed conspiracy theorists fearing the particle collider could produce a world-ending black hole. Billions of particle collisions later, the world remains safe without being eaten.
  • Much ado was made from December 21, 2012, the end of the long-count Mayan calendar, but the frenzy was for nothing. Scholars reject the very idea that the end of the calendar was designed to signal the apocalypse.

In summary: Nibiru does not exist, the heavens are to be interpreted and the apocalypse has long been elusive. In all likelihood, we will meet again on April 24.

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Arline J. Mercier

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