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Event Cache End of the World Winter Solstice Micro Event
Friday, December 21, 2012 - 11:00pm
Friday, December 21, 2012 - 11:30pm
End of the World Winter Solstice Micro Event
When? December 21st, 2012. 11:00-11:30pm
Where? The Oodena Celebration Circle at the Forks
N 49° 53.213 W 097° 07.733
Read the description below for more details and information on the blinky contest.
Will the world really end on December 21, 2012 at 5:12am CST?
Believe it or not, an amazing 1 in 7 people believe the world will be coming to end. Studies actually show that we may be around for another 5,000 years or so yet.
On December 21, the long-term Mayan Calendar will expire. The Mayans were an ancient civilization of people that ruled from the 6th to the 9th Century in Central America. They were ‘obsessed’ with time-keeping and created very accurate calendars. Without the benefits of modern technology, they were able to use lunar and solar cycles to predict eclipses thousands of years into the future.
The Mayan Calendar began, according to scientists, on August 11, 3114 B.C., and is set to expire or reset on December 21, 2012. Each solar year, the Mayan Calendar has been off by only 7 seconds. Therefore, when one does the math, it takes over 5,000 years for their calendar to reset. To put this into perspective, our calendar is off by a quarter-of-a-day (approximately 6 hours) each year. Every 4 years, we add an extra day (leap year) to essentially reset our own calendar. Therefore, our calendar expires every 4 years compared to over 5,000 years for the Mayan Calendar.
The 365-day Mayan calendar year was more precise than the Gregorian calendar. They devised three different calendrical systems: the tzolkin (sacred calendar), the haab (civil calendar), and the long count.
The tzolkin is a cycle of 260 days (13 months of 20 days each) and the haab is the solar cycle. These two calendars were combined in an interlocking fashion to produce a cycle of 18,980 days, which was known as a calendar round. That is about 52 years. Each day had a particular glyph and meaning ascribed to it and at the end of the 52-year cycle they had a renewal ceremony. The long count period ended at 5200 years. This was equivalent to an age. According to the Maya humanity was in the 4th Sun or age. That would end 5200 years from the beginning of their calendar, which started in 3011BC and expires in 2012.
The longest cycle in Mayan cosmology is 26,000 years, which corresponds to the precession of the equinox. There would be yet another 5200 year cycle left in the grand cycle since there are 5 long count cycles or suns and we are nearing the end of the 4th.
So what does the precise time of December 21, 2012 at 5:12am CST mean? That is the local time of the Winter Solstice, after this time, our days start getting longer again. At Greenwich England, the Winter solstice will pass at 11:12am.
What does this mean for us as Geocachers?
An excuse to celebrate, of course!
We will be meeting at 11pm at the Oodena Celebration Circle in the Forks. Oodena in Ojibwa means “heart of the city”. In this celebration circle, there are monoliths with steel armatures mounted on them. These steel armatures define precise sightlines to view specific stars. If we are fortunate to enjoy a clear evening, we should be able to see some stars through the armatures.
There are two plans for this event as it is unknown at the time of publication if there will be an Ojibwa event here to celebrate Winter Solstice.
Both plans include quiet reflection time to enjoy the evening passing of the Winter Solstice and to view stars through the astronomy armatures.
If we have the site to ourselves, we will have a blinky contest outside of the circle. (As an organization, we will recognize the Celebration Circle as a sacred spot and hold our contest outside of it.) Come ready to light up yourselves with glow sticks, blinkies and any other personal glow and light items you can wear. We will award a prize to the most lit up or creatively lit up Geocacher.
All lights to be turned on at precisely 11:12pm. Before that time, please remain ‘dark’.
If there is indeed a ceremony happening, there will be no blinky contest. We will be quietly respecting the ceremony and, if opportunity allows, enjoy the stars through the armatures.
The entire event is only scheduled from 11:00-11:30pm, Geocachers are welcome to stay as long as they wish.