December 21: Solstice Sunset Watch, yes; end of the world, no

December 12, 2012 at 11:02 am | In West Seattle news, WS miscellaneous | 10 Comments

West Seattle’s own NASA Solar System Ambassador Alice Enevoldsen is not only preparing for her quarterly event at Solstice Park – this time, it’s the Winter Solstice Sunset Watch on December 21st, her 15th seasonal sunset watch – but she’s also doing a lot of myth-debunking regarding that same day. (2010 winter-solstice photo of Alice, at right, by Jason Gift Enevoldsen)

Alice notes that she is ready to answer, and has been answering, “any and all questions about the world-ending/planets aligning 12/2012 nonsense.” She’s written about it already on her Alice’s Astro Info website: About 2012 (with debunking of the world-ending myth), here; about planetary ailgnment, here. In fact, she notes with some surprise that the four-year-old post on planetary alignment is her most-read post of all time.

Alice summarizes: “No, the world isn’t ending, the planets aren’t aligning, gravity isn’t shifting. Go donate to your favorite science education or critical thinking organization in solidarity with scientific thinking.” And come join her at 3:45 pm on Friday, December 21st, for solstice-sunset watch – though the official sunset time is 4:20 pm, she notes that sunsets at Solstice Park are consistently at least 10 minutes earlier than official time. If you’re keeping track, the actual solstice moment is 3:12 am that day, but her events are always for the first SUNSET after the solstice/equinox. Here’s how to find Solstice Park.

10 Comments

  1. Spoil-sport. I’m still going out partying on the 20th like its 1999. Or should it be the 21st? So confused…

    Comment by Chuck and Sally's Van man — 12:32 pm December 12, 2012 #

  2. The Mayans were unable to predict the demise of their own civilization. Why would anyone think they could predict the end of the world?

    Comment by Zack — 12:48 pm December 12, 2012 #

  3. Maybe we could celebrate with a little Zombie dance.

    Comment by kathleen — 1:25 pm December 12, 2012 #

  4. Hear hear Zack.

    Comment by Carlos — 1:52 pm December 12, 2012 #

  5. She’s so great! My son got a kick out of last year’s chat :)

    It’s important to acknowledge the passing of a myth and take a scientific nod of gratitude for such things. Mythos kickstarts curiousity. The Calendar was never about prediction, but the chance to chart change. Even today with our great technologies, in the end are feeling our way against the wall of the dark, ever seeking answers – to loneliness, to suffering, to being. That has never changed. We are like the Mayans – hoping, ever hoping there is no end to the world, but a seeking for answers towards a better one.

    And before I get lamblasted about war, atrocities, etc at Mayan/Incan hands – hold breath. Bloody hands and neocolonialism go together, too. I am just offering my opinion of hopeful change and don’t want a flame war…or else I have to pull out my texts on Indigenous Mythologies or Cultural Rhetoric :)

    Comment by BrassyMomma — 4:17 pm December 12, 2012 #

  6. She’s so great! My son got a kick out of last year’s chat :)

    It’s important to acknowledge the passing of a myth and take a scientific nod of gratitude for such things. Mythos kickstarts curiousity. The Calendar was never about prediction, but the chance to chart change. Even today with our great technologies, in the end are feeling our way against the wall of the dark, ever seeking answers – to loneliness, to suffering, to being. That has never changed. We are like the Mayans – hoping, ever hoping there is no end to the world, but a seeking for answers towards a better one

    And before I get lamblasted about war, atrocities, etc at Mayan/Incan hands – hold breath. Bloody hands and neocolonialism go together, too. I am just offering my opinion of hopeful change and don’t want a flame war…or else I have to pull out my texts on Indigenous Mythologies or Cultural Rhetoric :)

    Comment by BrassyMomma — 4:18 pm December 12, 2012 #

  7. Hello everyone!

    Yes, please come to the Solstice Sunset Watch and celebrate the shortest day of the year. Bring a thermos of tea or hot chocolate. :)

    The Maya people are alive and well today, so watch out for casting aspersions on their cultural heritage. :) The Maya I’ve personally met haven’t been too quick to take offense, but that’s no reason to misrepresent an entire people.

    Also, as for mythology, one of my favorite bits of mythos from the Maya is the existence of their “dark constellations.” Exactly the opposite of our Greek-based constellations, the Maya have a set of constellations composed of the dark spaces between stars, rather than making a dot-to-dot picture from star-to-star as we’re now used to.

    I don’t have my favorite link at my fingertips, but here’s a picture of one and a map of many.

    The ancient Maya were also obviously very good at calendaring, but their mythos does not predict the end of the world on 12/21/2012… simply the turning of a new page in the calendar much like our 12/31/1999.

    Comment by Alice — 8:29 pm December 12, 2012 #

  8. Kind of painting yourself into a corner with that headline aren’t you WSB? Maybe change it to “End of the world, probably not”.
    You don’t want to have to print a retraction if we’re all gone on the 22nd.

    Comment by DRS — 11:09 am December 13, 2012 #

  9. Well, by that logic, I would also have to say Solstice Watch, probably, since heaven knows all things are possible at all times … that would sure put a damper on all our publishing of events scheduled in the future …

    Comment by WSB — 12:42 pm December 13, 2012 #

  10. @DRS & WSB
    You’re making me laugh! :)

    Comment by Alice — 11:45 am December 18, 2012 #

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