Anti-Doomsday Day — 12/12/12

Aurora borealis over Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. David Cartier Sr., NASA via Reuters and Washington Post.

Aurora borealis over Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. David Cartier Sr., NASA via Reuters and Washington Post.

In reaction to some who misread Mayan predictions and declared December 21, 2012 Doomsday — the end of the world — the Astronomical Society of the Pacific declared December 12, 2012 (12/12/12) Anti-Doomsday Day. This was in keeping with its ongoing mission to promote science literacy.

In scientific and cultural terms, the ASP notes the number 12 is “most auspicious”.

I personally felt as though 12/12/12 was itself Doomsday, as I stood in the very cold snow for an hour and a half outside the US Embassy in Stockholm, waiting to file paperwork to replace a lost passport. But that is another story.

Here is why the ASP says the number 12 is “most auspicious: contemporary calendars (12 months in the year), chronology (12 hours of day and night), 12 signs of the zodiac*, Greek mythology (12 Olympic gods and goddesses), holiday folklore (12 days of Christmas), Shakespeare (Twelfth Night), and of course in our culinary world (dozen eggs, case of wine)!

More importantly, in astronomy Mars is 12 light minutes from the Sun, the average temperature of the Earth is 12 degrees Celsius, and Jupiter takes 12 years to orbit the Sun.”

A side note: this is the last time we will see day/month/year-end in the same number.

That said, the ASP took the opportunity to hit you up for a donation: ” thank all who keep us on the path of science literacy. Please also feel free to show your support by donating $12, $24 or $36 dollars to the ASP!”

http://astrosociety.org/get-involved/anti-doomsday-day/ has fact sheets and press coverage of Anti-Doomsday Day.

* Read more about Ophiuchus

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