PICTURES: 2012 Doomsday Myths Debunked

PICTURES: 2012 Doomsday Myths Debunked
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MYTH: Solar Storms to Savage Earth

In 2012, it's rumored, the sun (shown with plasma arching over its surface in a 2000 space-telescope image) will produce lethal eruptions of solar flares, turning up the heat on Earthlings.

Solar activity waxes and wanes according to approximately 11-year cycles. Big flares can indeed damage communications and other Earthly systems, but scientists have no indications the sun, at least in the short term, will unleash storms strong enough to fry the planet.

"As it turns out, the sun isn't on schedule anyway," NASA astronomer Morrison said. "We expect that this cycle probably won't peak in 2012 but a year or two later." (See "Sun Oddly QuietHints at Next 'Little Ice Age'?")

ON TV 2012: Countdown to Armageddon airs Sunday, November 15, at 7 p.m. ET on the National Geographic Channel. Preview >>
— Photograph courtesy TRACE Project, NASA
 
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