December 21, 2012 end of the world: Mayan prophecy predicts apocalypse, but is it true?

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PHOENIX - The world has had its fair share of failed predictions about the date of the apocalypse, but the one that's perhaps the most awaited is quickly approaching.

Many people believe December 21, 2012 to be the date of the apocalypse. Could this be the end of the world as we know it?

HISTORY

The Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012, so many people believe that date to be the end of days.

According to CNN , the calendar had a 5,126-year cycle, so many wonder why the ancient civilization, known for their advanced grasp on astronomy, chose this date.

The Mayan calendar is divided into bak'tuns, 144,000-day cycles. According to NBC News , the last cycle on the calendar is fast approaching.

Other people believe that instead of destruction, humanity will enter a new era both physically and mentally. Skeptics believe nothing will happen at all and refer to the craze as an Internet hoax.

December 21, 2012 hasn't been the only prediction for the end of the world. According to Livescience.com , one of the most well-known failed predictions was that the Y2K bug would crash all the computers the moment the new millennium rang in, causing worldwide destruction.

Another scare was the Halley's Comet flyby in 1910. According to the Livescience, comet tails contain deadly gas. When the earth passed through the tail of Halley's Comet in 1910, many feared the entire Earth would be poisoned. However, scientists soon debunked the claim.

Read about more failed predictions .

COINCIDENCE?

December 21, 2012 is the start of the winter solstice.

CNN reported that on this date, the sun will be aligned with the center of the Milky Way for the first time in nearly 26,000 years.

According to NBC News , archeologists found another reference to this date in the Mayan ruins of La Corona in Guatemala.

IS IT REAL?

Theories abound about the cause of the possible end of the world. According to Livescience.com , some theorists believe a rogue planet could crash into Earth.

Others believe a magnetic pole reversal could send Earth back into the Stone Age.

However, according to NBC News , NASA says no one has anything to fear and that the day will pass without incident, adding that many theories have no factual basis.

The Telegraph reported that NASA believes that the Mayans never intended the calendar to end in 2012, but that instead, another cycle begins afterward. The Telegraph also reported that modern Maya say that there is no concept of an apocalypse in their culture.

What do you think? Will the world come to an end or not? Leave your comments below.

Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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