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The story started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed toward Earth. Zecharia Sitchin, who writes fiction about the ancient Mesopotamian civilization of Sumer, claimed in several books (e.g., The Twelfth Planet, published in 1976) that he has found and translated Sumerian documents that identify the planet Nibiru, orbiting the Sun every 3600 years. These Sumerian fables include stories of “ancient astronauts” visiting Earth from a civilization of aliens called the Anunnaki. Then Nancy Lieder, a self-declared psychic who claims she is channelling aliens, wrote on her website Zetatalk that the inhabitants of a fictional planet around the star Zeta Reticuli warned her that the Earth was in danger from Planet X or Nibiru. This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012. Only recently have these two fables been linked to the end of the Mayan long-count at the winter solstice in 2012 – hence the predicted doomsday date of December 21, 2012.
Let me be very clear here: Nancy Lieder, Mark Hazlewood and the rest of these Planet X people (hereafter referred to as "PXPs") are completely wrong. No rogue giant planet is about to destroy the Earth, in May 2003 or otherwise. The webpages on this and other sites give lots of details, but I thought it might help if I made a brief synopsis of the arguments I and others make to debunk this pseudoscientific silliness. Listed below are the major points against the claims of the PXPs. Feel free to use them to make yourself feel better, or to use on someone who is contemplating the Dark Side.
Misinterpretation of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar is the basis for a New Age belief that a cataclysm will take place on December 21, 2012. December 21, 2012 is simply the day that the calendar will go to the next b'ak'tun.
Sandra Noble, executive director of the Mesoamerican research organization FAMSI, notes that "for the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle". She considers the portrayal of December 2012 as a doomsday or cosmic-shift event to be "a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in." The 2009 science fiction apocalyptic disaster film 2012 is based on this belief.