The End is Near, Some Say: May 5th, to be Exact : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

The End is near, some say: May 5, to be exact By Robert Roy Britt, . 03.10.00

Prepare for The End. Or at least get ready to hear a lot of people tell you its coming again.

This time, a planetary alignment due May 5 is the purported culprit. The compound effect of gravity would be the means. All manner of earthly destruction would be the result.

In truth, the headline-grabbing event is poised to become this year's biggest non-story -- unless you count Y2K. Recycled doomsayers hocking books, advice and all-purpose survival gear, have a laundry list of scenarios by which newest version of The End could play out.

Want proof that this kind of thing has happened before? What about those woolly mammoths that died with grass still in their mouths!

The claims for what to expect May 5, which one astronomer called "a load of crap," reflect the standard tabloid prophecies: severe weather will rewrite Noah's adventures (haven't you noticed the weathers been just plain strange?); earthquakes will tumble our cities; the polar ice caps will melt; even the sun might participate, hurling unbearable doses of radiation our way.

This much is true: At around 4:08 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (8:08 GMT) on May 5, Earth, the Moon, the sun and the five visible planets will all be roughly aligned along an imaginary line in space. To be more accurate, the heavenly bodies will be arrayed within a 26.5-degree angle, with Earth as its center.

Some are calling it the Grand Alignment. Scientists term it a "massing" and will pay the event little heed.

The rough alignment is no more than an astronomical curiosity, says Donald Yeomans of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The gravitational pull or "tidal effect" that other planets have on Earth is, and will be, teensy.

"A baseball held at arms length has more tidal effect on you than Mars at its closest," Yeomans said in a telephone interview. "It's absurd to think that the alignment of a planet is going to have any significant tidal effect over and above the moon and the sun."

So what will happen here on Earth?

"Nothing," Yeomans said.

Search the web, and you'll hear another story. You'll also find a handful of books that either mention or focus on the alignment.

Pyramid scheme Richard Noone, in his book "5/5/2000 Ice: The Ultimate Disaster?" lumps all the standard fears together, proposing that the effects of gravity will cause polar ice to alter Earth's axis, initiating catastrophic floods and earthquakes. Noone claims a similar event 6,000 years ago helped the ancient Egyptians build the Great Pyramid.

John Mosley, an astronomer at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, calls the book "an unorganized mish-mash." Writing for the International Planetarium Society's journal, Mosley says Noone's scenario is "extraordinarily shy on details."

"Noone's arguments and his thick book will appeal to the New-Agers for whom all bizarre ideas are inter-related and who need nothing more than a planetary alignment foreseen by the builders of the Great Pyramid to raise the alarm of impending cosmic doom," Mosley says.

The lack of details will set you back $16. Fright included.

Apparently, people are starting to hear folks like Noone, as calls are dribbling into planetariums around the world.

At the Fels Planetarium in Philadelphia, astronomer Derrick Pitts said only a few people have called so far, but he expects the pace to pick up as the event draws nearer.

"It's too far out yet," Pitts said. "I think people are enjoying some time off from the millennium scare."

What you can see Pitts, who has a weekly astronomy program on WHYY radio, is trying to raise awareness of the alignment. Why? Because in the weeks leading up to May 5, starting now, sky gazers can watch the planets lining themselves up.

On April 6, for example, Saturn, Mars, Jupiter and the thin crescent Moon will all share a small region of the sky. The show will be visible at 7 p.m. local time at mid-northern latitudes.

But beyond skywatching opportunities early on, the May alignment is insignificant to astronomers, who aren't planning any special studies (as they often do during eclipses). And the actual event isn't even visible; because the planets involved -- Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn -- will all be on the other side of the sun.

-- cin (, March 12, 2000


Yahoo!!! Cinco de Mayo!!!

-- im (redy@or.not), March 12, 2000.

"prepare for the end". Isn't that a little contradictory?

-- Lars (, March 12, 2000.

that is funny lars! i guess i thought we had a major alignment that was the source of much gloom and doom last summer. remember? it was around the same time as the eclipse i think. i don't remember how many planets and stars but i thought it came close to rivaling this one.

is this the same type of alignment that occurred when the "star of bethlehem" was seen? i think it was eight stars and planets.

-- tt (, March 12, 2000.

You know, all this "end of the world" crap is hysterically funny. Y2K is/was an event that could be prepared for, if one took the potential for major disruptions seriously.

I don't care WHO you are, but the "real" end of the world is... well, the END OF THE WORLD. On the day that it finally DOES arrive, who will survive it based on preps...?


-- Dennis (, March 12, 2000.

How about...the end of the world AS WE KNOW IT.

-- cin (, March 12, 2000.

We will just see if woolly mammoths have grass in their mouths....they dig one up on the Discovery channel tonight.

-- benscared (xx@yz.ed), March 12, 2000.

I don't get this grass business. Weren't mammoths permitted to die while eating? They probably split their lives between eating and sleeping. They ate grass. What's the deal?

-- Flint (, March 12, 2000.

Rare celestial alignment expected May 5

The Canadian Press

Doomsday forecasters are advising people to hang on to their Y2K survival kits because they may need them on May 5.

There's going to be an unusual clustering of heavenly bodies on that date, and some people fear all hell could break loose. Everything from spectacular displays of northern lights to massive earthquakes, tidal waves and volcanic eruptions are potential by-products of the so-called "grand alignment."

Astronomers say there's nothing to worry about. It's nonsense, they say, to think anything bad will come of the fact that Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the sun, plus the moon and Earth, will be roughly in alignment.

"There will be no effect whatsoever," says John Mosley, an astronomer at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

It's been 6,000 years since this particular celestial configuration last occurred. It's not clear what happened then and no one is sure what might happen now.

The five planets will be aligned on the other side of the sun from the moon and Earth. Unfortunately, skywatchers won't be able to see the unusual lineup because the sun will be in the way.

Astronomers say the massing of the planets on May 5 will be hidden from probing telescopes. The only good opportunity for skywatchers will be on April 6 when Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and the moon will be clustered together.

-- Uncle Bob (, March 12, 2000.

What about those woolly mammoths that died with grass in their mouths?

I want to know more about what could have happened and why. The mammoth show starts MST in 10 minutes on the Discovery channel. Flint .. they did more than just eat and sleep....they made love! I'm hoping we will see it all on the show.

And to answer the question..what do wooly mammoths have to do with the end of the world.....nothing.

-- afriendofthewoollymammoth (zz@xx.ed), March 12, 2000.

Mammoths making love---wow, talk about the earth moving!

-- Lars (, March 12, 2000.

Anyone wanna buy two 200-gallon water bags and a Petromax lantern? Oops wrong forum.

-- Debbie (, March 12, 2000.

The point of the grasses is that they are 1) tropical grasses.

and 2) the mammals died so fast that they were in the process of eating, not fleeing or anything that would have suggested that the event took longer than a few minutes.

Or so I understand the paleontology


-- Chuck, a night driver (, March 12, 2000.


Stop being logical and sensable! It confuses all of us.

-- Chief (, March 13, 2000.

Would still like to know just which man-made pollutants caused the global warming of the dinosaur era.

-- Anyone (HaveThe@Facts?.com), March 13, 2000.

>It's been 6,000 years since this particular celestial configuration last occurred. It's not clear what happened then and no one is sure what might happen now.

Something the promoters like Noone (whose book's been selling since at least 1976 or earlier -- I envy the income ... if I could've stood the sleaziness, that is) usually fail to mention is that there was a planetary alignment in February 1962 that was even narrower -- closer to a straight line -- than the upcoming May event.

_If_ the alignment of planetary gravitational pulls on Earth were going to have any of the effects the 5/5/2000 doomsayers claim, then they should have already occurred 38 years ago when the conditions for such influence were even stronger than they will be this May.

So, whenever someone brings up the "no one is sure what might happen" argument, reply with "Actually, we already have the February 1962 planetary alignment experience to guide us in this matter -- you know, the polar shifting, ice melting, earthquakes, all that catastrophic stuff back then -- you remember, don't you?"

-- No Spam Please (, March 13, 2000.

This alignment has occured many times, and in Astrology is known as a stellium. The difference with this one is the astrological sign in which it occurs. It WILL have an impact on each individual according to their natal chart, but on life as a whole..........nonsense.

There was nonsense like this last year when there was an equally "rare" astrological formation known as a "Grand Fixed Cross" which occured in August. I will spare you the details, but suffice to say there was lots of doom surrounding that one-especially those who claimed the disasters that would follow were prophesized by that fool, oops, I mean prophet Nostradamus.

If anyone is interested I will research the alignment some more.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), March 13, 2000.

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