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Rinako
2003-May-29, 07:44 PM
I heard some time ago that there were rumors sometime in the 1980s that a planetary alignment would occur and that it would cause the end of the world. Does anyone remember when this alignment happened and what explanation was given about how it would destroy the world? I know it sounds wacky, but I am curious.

Nandalion
2003-May-29, 07:55 PM
Yes, that planetary alignment occured on May 5, 2000--there was speculation from some that such an alignment would screw up the gravity due to such large bodies all on one side of the earth, thus causing the poles to shift. It obviously didn't happen.

CJSF
2003-May-29, 08:23 PM
There was also a similar line-up and pseudo paranoia in the 1980s - I want to say April or May1982, but I am not sure. I remember hearing about it as a kid. We used to have a section of the wall leading to the basement where we would write all sorts of things, growing up. My older brother and I wrote "Planets line up tomorrow, [date], world to end" or something... we didn't believe it, but thought it rather funny that people would believe something like that.

CJSF

crazy4space
2003-May-29, 09:30 PM
I heard some time ago that there were rumors sometime in the 1980s that a planetary alignment would occur and that it would cause the end of the world. Does anyone remember when this alignment happened and what explanation was given about how it would destroy the world? I know it sounds wacky, but I am curious.

All the planets lined up together would not have as much gravity effect on the earth as the moon does - the moon is a lot closer. By the way welcome to the board.

Kizarvexis
2003-May-29, 10:26 PM
Here is a nice paragraph from the excellent article "The Thousand Yard Model, or The Earth as a Peppercorn".

The Emptiness of Space
The planet walk is an antidote to the "scientific" school of astrologers, who suggest that the planets disturb particles in our bodies. When one can visual- ize(sic) how remote these planets are, it is easy to understand that the nearest of them, Venus, when nearest to us, has the same gravitational or tidal effect as a truck 14 miles away, or a high-rise building 300 miles away.

If you have any interest in astronomy, this is a really good exercise to try out. When my daughter's 2nd grade class studied the solar system, I took them on this walk around the playground out back. Even the teachers were impressed to actually walk the distances and to see just how small the planets are in comparison to the size of the solar system.

"The Thousand Yard Model, or The Earth as a Peppercorn" (http://www.noao.edu/education/peppercorn/pcmain.html)

Kizarvexis

newt
2003-May-30, 01:43 AM
And to add to comments by crazy4space and Kizarvexis, don't forget the diproportionate masses involved. I'm guessing from foggy memory, but the sun has something like 98.5% of the solar system's mass. EVERYTHING else: planets, asteroids, dust and dark matter make up the remaining 1.5%. Cheers.

kilopi
2003-May-30, 02:16 AM
I heard some time ago that there were rumors sometime in the 1980s that a planetary alignment would occur and that it would cause the end of the world. Does anyone remember when this alignment happened and what explanation was given about how it would destroy the world? I know it sounds wacky, but I am curious.
There was one in 2000 as well, as Nandalion mentions (for a more extensive list, see this post (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=76830#76830)--click on the dates--or try this webpage (http://www.religioustolerance.org/end_wrl1.htm)), but we discussed John Gribbin's book The Jupiter Effect (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=34844&highlight=gribbin#34844) before. Silas explains a lttle bit about it.

The Bad Astronomer
2003-May-30, 08:59 PM
... and yet again, there is a whole website attached to this board (http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/planets.html).

gethen
2003-May-30, 11:25 PM
Wow. And I was just thinking that the BA dealt with this in his book.

Rinako
2003-May-31, 02:53 PM
... and yet again, there is a whole website attached to this board.

My apologies. I was curious about the circumstances surrounding the event in the 1980s and wondered why people thought that the planetary alignment could destroy the world.

The Bad Astronomer
2003-May-31, 03:51 PM
No reason to apologize. I just think it's funny that when someone asks a question here, and people post links, they rarely seem to link to this site! It's ironic, because the board is here because of the site. :wink:

John Kierein
2003-May-31, 03:54 PM
I remember hearing a paper given at a AAS meeting in the 1960s that showed that when the planets lined up, not to the earth, but to the sun, that it caused solar flares. There was a good statistical data set that showed this.
I remember asking the presenter if that meant there was something to astrology and the response was that astrology was earth centered and the data was sun centered.