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Galactic Alignment 2012?
Posted: 06 January 2009 01:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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I tried to understand this concept of ‘galactic alignment’, I understand the following. The earth’s rotation axis is not perpendicular to the plane in which the earth rotates around the sun. This means there are is a line where the plane of the earth’s equator cuts through the plane of the orbit of the earth around the sun. When the sun is exactly in this direction, the sun stands exactly above the equator. (At noon shadows are exactly under the objects that cause them.) But this cutting line is not in the same direction always, because the earth is ‘wobbling’, as a spinning top. The period of this so called precession is 26000 years, and so this line is also changing direction in this period. But this also means, that twice in this period, this line is in the same plane as the (average) plane of the galaxis. So yes, it is a real phenomenon, but no, it has no special physical meaning, so nothing will happen.

It is similar to this old story:
Old Planetarium in Holland

Some religious kinds like to foresay disasters. It is from all times.

GdB

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Posted: 06 January 2009 07:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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gray1 - 04 January 2009 08:43 PM

Help!  I’m having trouble figuring out the geometry on this “galactic alignment” thing predicted for December 21, 2012.  This while watching the History Channel on a Nostrodamus.  Last I heard, we were near the end of a spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy, but there’s all these people telling us that the Earth is (every 26 thousand years or so) going to “line up with the black hole at the center of the galaxy” with dire results predicted. 

My problem is picturing how we can “ALIGN” with this center, apparently being exposed to the emissons of the black hole, unless we can somehow take a major change of position to get on top of the galaxy’s disk as opposed to being shielded from any exposure to the center by the millions of stars which also revolve around the center only closer than we are.  Is there a big “gap” which will suddenly appear to “expose” us?

Obviously there is much I do not understand about this thing.

There are several problems with this prediction. First of all when black holes emit energy they don’t emit it along their equators, but along their axis. The black hole at the center of our galaxy has its axis generally aligned with the galaxy’s north and south poles and will never be pointed toward the earth. Secondly, even if the earths axis lined up with the galaxy’s axis so what? If the black hole was emitting energy directly at the earth why would it matter what direction the earth was oriented? If you aim a flashlight at a spinning basketball the same number of photons land on the basketball whether the poles are pointed at you or they are oriented 90 degrees away. There seems to be this real fascination among the scientifically illiterate with the concept of celestial objects “lining up”, but the vast majority of these alignments have no significance and many of them are pure illusion.

These people are always using garbage science to scare the public and there are always people who are ignorant enough to swallow some of it. I remember when I was in high school in the 70’s there was a prediction in all the learned publications ( The Star, The National Inquirer etc) that when the planets all aligned in 1980 the gravitational forces were going to create a cataclysm on the earth. It sounded plausible to those ignorant of astronomy ( ie. that these alignments have happened numerous times in the past) and the laws of physics ( ie. The gravitational inverse square law) and lots of people bought it. I actually had a social studies teacher who attempted to teach this to the class as fact and then tried to ridicule me in front of the class when I pointed out the flaws in the argument.

These sorts of stories just continue to point out the need for a stronger science curriculum in this country and a greater respect for science among the general population. Bush clearly didn’t help this problem. He is scientifically illiterate and is the very embodiment of society’s diminished level of respect for science. Hopefully our new president will reverse this trend.

[ Edited: 06 January 2009 04:30 PM by macgyver ]
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Posted: 06 January 2009 09:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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GdB, it’s easier to think of these issues in terms of the poles rather than the equators. And there are three separate poles to consider. The first and easiest to understand is the North Celestial Pole. The North Star, Polaris, sits about a degree from it. The NCP represents the pole of the earth’s daily rotation. Because of the moon’s gravitational effects on the earth (tides), the NCP moves in a circle, completing one circle every 26,000 years. However, that circle is small: only 23º in radius. This means that the maximum distance the NCP pole can move from its current position is 46º.

Next, there’s the pole of the earth’s revolution around the sun, which is called the Ecliptic Pole. It is 23º away from the NCP and is, in fact, the center of the circle traced by the NCP through the sky.

Lastly, there’s the galactic pole, which is in Virgo, as I recall, at a fairly low declination. Now, in order for the earth’s rotation to align with the galaxy’s rotation, the two poles much coincide. However, the NCP never comes anywhere near the north galactic pole, so it is impossible for the two poles to coincide.

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Posted: 06 January 2009 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Mriana - 05 January 2009 08:07 PM

Sounds like a Mayan end of a(n) era/time story to me.

It is. The Long Count. Popol Vuh.

What is worse is that the post-modernist bullshit that feeds this myth isnt even based on the Mayan writings. Its based on speculations on what the texts mean and so forth. Besides, what reason do we have to believe the Mayans anyway?

The pomo’s - ie privileged white people on LCD - like to think just because Mayans are an ancient civilization that that somehow gives credibility to the speculations based on what artifacts remain. Its all horribly pathetic.

folks like Daniel Pinchbeck are what are feeding this BS.

PS: some of the mayan calendars extend way beyond 2012, so take the pomo theories with a grain of salt. The mayans might have been good at making calendars but turning those into end of the world theories is absurd. and like other folks are pointing out: how can they galaxy be aligned? aligned in what way. our galaxy is a cluster of hundreds of billions of stars orbiting around the center of the galaxy (blackhole????). the prospect of every star being in perfect alignment across the galaxy is not only hard to believe but that by doing so the world would end or that humans would evolve into indigo children or something is pathetic.

but thats just me…

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Posted: 06 January 2009 04:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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truthaddict - 06 January 2009 03:15 PM

The pomo’s - ie privileged white people on LCD - like to think just because Mayans are an ancient civilization that that somehow gives credibility to the speculations based on what artifacts remain. Its all horribly pathetic.

So, um… Ancient people who had no scientific knowledge as we know it, looked to the stars for answers, and made up stories that took placed in the “heavens” know more than we do today?  That is pathetic.

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Posted: 06 January 2009 07:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Mriana - 06 January 2009 04:38 PM
truthaddict - 06 January 2009 03:15 PM

The pomo’s - ie privileged white people on LCD - like to think just because Mayans are an ancient civilization that that somehow gives credibility to the speculations based on what artifacts remain. Its all horribly pathetic.

So, um… Ancient people who had no scientific knowledge as we know it, looked to the stars for answers, and made up stories that took placed in the “heavens” know more than we do today?  That is pathetic.

Yes they do, because it is a tradition that goes back thousands of years! Isn’t it obvious! That’s why you should also believe in astrology, Feng Shui, acupuncture Ayurveda, and ancient Native American remedies etc, etc!

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Posted: 06 January 2009 07:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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rolleyes  I know.  It’s all intertwine and evolving to something newer every day.

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Posted: 07 January 2009 12:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Hi Chris,

Yeah, you are right, that is easier to picture. But then, if something like this ‘galactic alignment’ exists, if it is what I think it is (the equinoxes occur in the plane of the galaxis), how can you explain that?

GdB

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Posted: 07 January 2009 12:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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asanta - 06 January 2009 07:15 PM

Yes they do, because it is a tradition that goes back thousands of years! Isn’t it obvious! That’s why you should also believe in astrology, Feng Shui, acupuncture Ayurveda, and ancient Native American remedies etc, etc!

One should take a little care with this argument. Grosso modo I agree, but especially with healing herbs one should look a little better. It might be that some herb really has some healing power, and only ‘ancients’ know this. Practical knowledge might get lost, even some kinds of practical wisdom. Both can be more or less independent on scientific knowledge, but for the herbs of course, one should be able to find out which compound is the healing one. AFAIK some antropologists try to find such things in ‘primitive’ cultures before their culture (or the healing plants!) get lost. Even pharmaceutical industries might profit from these!

GdB

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Posted: 07 January 2009 08:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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GdB - 07 January 2009 12:32 AM

One should take a little care with this argument. Grosso modo I agree, but especially with healing herbs one should look a little better. It might be that some herb really has some healing power, and only ‘ancients’ know this. Practical knowledge might get lost, even some kinds of practical wisdom. Both can be more or less independent on scientific knowledge, but for the herbs of course, one should be able to find out which compound is the healing one. AFAIK some antropologists try to find such things in ‘primitive’ cultures before their culture (or the healing plants!) get lost. Even pharmaceutical industries might profit from these!

GdB

GdB, your point is well taken. I think most medical researchers understand that there may be an occasional gold nugget among all the mounds of muddy sludge that is commonly called “herbal medicine”. Its easy to just discard everything becuase the herbal/alternative medicine industry never does any real research to determine if anything of value exists in there.

Practical wisdom may be a reasonable alternative to picking any old random point from which to search for important discoveries, but ultimately it must withstand scientific scrutiny or its just bunk.

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Posted: 07 January 2009 08:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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macgyver - 07 January 2009 08:15 AM

I think most medical researchers understand that there may be an occasional gold nugget among all the mounds of muddy sludge that is commonly called “herbal medicine”.

while herbal medicine - and/or the mythology built around them in some societies - is not the same as looking at the stars for social theory and practice, there are some nuggets in herbal medicine. no one here will deny that much of medicine is based on natural properties that have effects on our health.

interestingly enough there is a great book out on biodiversity from this angle: sustaining life; how human health relies on biodiveristy (or something to that effect).

but the mayans did create some awesome calendars and their “galactic” calendars were limited to what they could see. maybe they interpreted them awkwardly, and maybe not. the point is we shouldnt because we should know better.

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Posted: 07 January 2009 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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But then, if something like this ‘galactic alignment’ exists, if it is what I think it is (the equinoxes occur in the plane of the galaxis), how can you explain that?

That’s the trick: this ‘galactic alignment’ doesn’t exist and cannot exist. The proponents are assuming facts that are false. It’s rather like talking about what would happen if the sun were directly overhead at sunset in Antarctica.

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Posted: 07 January 2009 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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GdB, my point was that you can’t accept everything on the basis of the length of time of its practice. You can find traditional medicines in India and China (for instance) that are purposefully contaminated with mercury or lead, which is believed to have healing power. We know that these two substances are poisons. On the other hand, digitalis was a natural remedy that we have synthesized into digoxin for proven medical use, but it has a very narrow safety range,  ‘Natural’ remedies should be able to stand up under the same scrutiny of science, (and not just taken on the faith of being used by tradition for X thousands of years) as modern medications. The maxim ‘first, do no harm’ comes to mind as does beneficence.

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Posted: 07 January 2009 10:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Hi Mcgyver,

With practical wisdom I mean that some human categories are of all ages, independent of scientific progress. If you were beamed back in time, and you must find means to convince people to do something, you must know how. And that is not just science. Call it ‘daily life practical wisdom’. In old ages there were also politicians,.. We are used to think of old cultures that the people were stupid because their science was way behind ours. But science is not all there is.

GdB

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Posted: 08 January 2009 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Much of the archaeological record regardless of where in the world you look consists of evidence of our ancestors having observed the movements of the heavens.  Whether for religious or practical purposes there have been many structures built which are obviously aligned with celestrial movements, and our current facination with this history probably lacks a realization of how much collective time and effort went into this kind of thing.  Most of us do not generally have time or are not willing to make the dedication necessary to analize very many specific things, such having become the realm of specialists.

It is probably the case that our recent ancestors did not have a significant deficit in terms of I.Q. relative to our current averages, and obviously those engaged in observing astronomy and building related structures might even be considered quite intelligent by today’s standards.  Consider that while they did not have access to the collective knowledge base that today’s scientists have, at the same time certain classes of people in ancient times were indeed specialists having had generations of collective wisdom regarding their own finite observations and experiences.  That is to say, while we should not inflate archaeological evidence into further and further degrees of nonsense, at the same time we should not sell our ancestors short.

That said, there is a lot of junk “science” as well as junk “religion” principally designed to separate money from sheeple.

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