A great many people are going to be watching the end of the world as we know it (not the R.E.M. video, the anticipated real thing) through the bottom of a glass of their favorite alcoholic beverage. But for those who actually want to see that asteroid or comet or second sun or uncharted planet or solar flare as it reaches its inevitable doomsday rendezvous with planet Earth, there is actually a place to do so from the convenience of a computer — no matter where you might be on Dec. 21, 2012.
Actually, you could have started watching for a catastrophic solar flare or some horrific alignment of planets or somesuch yesterday, Dec. 17. The Slooh Space Camera began showing free webcasts for those who want to personally maintain a doomsday vigil until the end — or until the predicted end of it all passes.
Each day through Friday, Dec. 21, the Slooh Space Camera will live stream from Arizona and the Canary Islands in free webcasts for observers to watch for impending doom or at least to alleviate fears with shots of a star-filled but otherwise empty sky.
Bob Berman, a columnist for Astronomy magazine (via Space.com), said in a statement: “Rather than merely offer scientists’ dismissals of the many silly doomsday scenarios that have now been heard by almost everyone in the world, and which have reportedly produced panic in Russia, Slooh will take a ‘let’s see for ourselves’ attitude.
“By acting independently of any government agency,” he added, “which assumedly would be disbelieved by the millions who are convinced a giant cover-up is in place, Slooh will observe the planets and the ecliptic plane for anything out of the ordinary.”
Berman will also participate in the observations, along with Slooh president Patrick Paolucci.
The free live webcasts will cover searches for specific bringers of doom, like the mythological planet Nibiru. The schedule of webcasts of “end of the world” searches can be found on the Slooh site.
NASA and a great number of scientists have tried to allay fears of a coming apocalyptic event for the past year (NASA even produced a debunking video), much of which has been generated by doomsday prophets misinterpreting the termination of the Mayan long-count calendar, which comes to an end on Dec. 21, 2012. Some have interpreted this to mean that the world is scheduled to end that day. However, most MesoAmerican experts and Mayan scholars have assured the general populace that, just as with most calendars, when one ends, another begins. There is no Mayan doomsday prophecy. In fact, archaeologists recently uncovered a giant mural in a Mayan megacity that depicts calculations of future dates stretching some 7,000 years into the future.
So much for 2012…
Still, some will not be deterred from the idea of the world coming to an end in some fashion — and soon. Enter: Slooh Space Camera.
Of course, if the world ends via a series of cataclysmic earthquakes or the massive eruption of a super volcano, there’s not much that watching the space camera will be able to show you regarding the Earth’s demise.