According to the rules of the Maya calendar system, which relied on multiple cycles of time, a primary interval, Baktun 13, ends on the winter solstice, 2012. Although pseudoscientific claims have linked this calendrical curiosity to a Maya prophecy of the end of time, there is no documented Maya belief in the world’s end in 2012 or even in any unusual significance to the event. Recent claims, however, promote the date’s galactic alignment and link it with the detailed structure of the Milky Way Galaxy, information known only through modern astronomy. Griffith Observatory Director Dr. E.C. Krupp will detail how the 2012 beliefs about global transformation, solar system alignment, rogue planets, catastrophic pole shifts, and calamitous sunspots have been fabricated and marketed and what the universe is really doing on the winter solstice in 2012.
Dr. E.C. Krupp is an astronomer and Director of Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and led its recent $93-million renovation and expansion. A graduate of Pomona College in Claremont, California, he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in the Department of Astronomy at U.C.L.A., where he studied the properties of rich clusters of galaxies under the guidance of the late Dr. George O. Abell. Now recognized internationally as an expert on ancient, prehistoric, and traditional astronomy, Dr. Krupp has visited nearly 1900 sites throughout the world and regularly leads field study tours to exotic locations that have astronomical and archaeological interest.
Dr. Krupp is the author of several books on the cultural dimensions of astronomy and on the celestial component of belief systems, including In Search of Ancient Astronomies (1978), Archaeoastronomy and the Roots of Science (1984), Echoes of the Ancient Skies (1983), and Beyond the Blue Horizon: Myths and Legends of the Sun, Moon, Stars and Planets (1991). His most recent book for adults is Skywatchers, Shamans, & Kings—Astronomy and the Archaeology of Power (1997). He also writes astronomy books for children, including The Comet and You (1985), The Big Dipper and You (1989), and The Moon and You (1993), and The Rainbow and You 2000). Two of his books have won national prizes from the American Institute of Physics. His books have been translated into Spanish, German, Russian, Polish, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese. He is a contributing editor for Sky & Telescope and writes a monthly column on astronomy and culture for this nationally distributed magazine. He was the on-camera host for Project: Universe, a PBS teleseries broadcast internationally and appears frequently on radio and television. In 1989, he received a national prize from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific—the Klumpke-Roberts Award for outstanding contributions to public understanding and appreciation of astronomy, and in 1996 he received the G. Bruce Blair Medal for substantive contributions to amateur and public astronomy from the Western Amateur Astronomers.
"What's Up?" in this month will be presented by Don McClelland