Astronomer D.P. Duari has dismissed the prediction of the world ending on December 21 as a mere rumour, saying Friday would be like any other day.
Duari, a NASA educator and director of M.P. Birla Planetarium, said December 21 would be marked different only because it is a day of winter solstice and the world would not certainly meet its end on that day.
"December 21, 2012", will be another normal day, the only speciality being that it will be the day of winter solstice when sun will be at the southernmost point of the sky and the amount of day time will be the shortest.
Duari noted that doomsday stories had become the centre of discussion around the globe in recent weeks and India was no different, thanks to social networking sites and the Internet.
Explaining the origin of the worldwide buzz, the astronomer said that at the core of this rumour lay a belief by certain people that the ancient Mayan civilisation in Latin America had December 21, 2012 as the last day of their calendar and thereafter the earth's life span would expire.
There are other theories too of how the earth will come to an end on that day, one of them being a devastating collision between the earth and a planet of the yet-undiscovered solar system called 'Niburu', he pointed out.
He explained that December 21, 2012 would have a solar maxima resulting in the reversal of the polarity of the earth's magnetic field.
December 21, 2012, is not the end of time as indicated by the Mayan calendar. It is rather the end of an era which, according to the Mayans, was of duration of 5,125 years or 13 Bakhtuns, each Bakhtun being of a duration of little more than 393 years,Duari explained.
At the end of the 13 Bakhtuns, the Mayans believed, there would be the beginning of a new era, he pointed out.
"So, the above declaration by some people of December 21 being the last day of earth is not supported by even the Mayans," he explained.
The solar system had been extensively and exhaustively surveyed by astronomers using telescopes and space-borne detectors. Never was any object discovered in our solar system which could be called the hypothetical planet X or Niburu, Duari said.
Once in a year the earth, sun and the galactic centre are aligned roughly in a straight line but that does not cause any change in the pattern of movements of either the earth around the sun or the sun around the galaxy.
"To be precise, it was in 1998 when such an exact alignment had taken place. Moreover, no such planetary alignment is happening at present. So, even the erroneous belief of earth getting destroyed by such an event is impossible,"he said.