No Apocalypse in 2012

The New York Times

New York Times

August 24, 2010

To the Editor:

Who could argue with Lawrence E. Joseph’s efforts in “The Sun Also Surprises” (Op-Ed, Aug. 16) to encourage disaster readiness in response to potential hazards from the sun’s 11-year solar cycle of storms?

The cosmos is indeed armed with multiple ways to kill us. But unlike Mr. Joseph’s claim, none of them are scheduled for 2012. Fear of 2012 is a worldwide delusion spread by the scientifically illiterate on the scientifically underinformed, fueled by a million Web pages that predict cosmic disasters on an epic scale.

For the record, the next solar maximum will not happen before mid-2013, but, more important, it’s expected to be among the weakest peaks on record. So if the world ends in 2012, it will not be the fault of the universe.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

New York, Aug. 17, 2010

The writer, an astrophysicist, is director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History.