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World won't end Dec. 21, but Griffith Observatory to stay open late

December 14, 2012|By Rosie Mestel
  • Tom Schmid, Griffith Observatory lecturer, narrates the planetarium show "Time's Up," which explores the 2012 Mayan doomsday myth and the nature of time at the Griffith Observatory. The observatory will stay open till one minute past midnight on Dec. 21.
Tom Schmid, Griffith Observatory lecturer, narrates the planetarium… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

Any of you worried about 12/21/12 because it’s the supposed “end of the world”? 

We hope not, but in any case, the Griffith Observatory will be here to allay your fears.

The observatory has announced that it “will attempt to dispel misguided concerns regarding the ‘End of the World’ by staying open late the evening of Friday, December 21, 2012, until one minute after midnight.”

If it’s still around, of course.

“The Observatory normally closes at 10:00 p.m. but will remain open an added 121 minutes to demonstrate that claims regarding the Maya calendar, planetary alignments, rogue planets, galactic beams, and other related phenomena have no basis in fact,” the announcement continues. “For years, public anxiety regarding the ‘end of the world’ on December 21, 2012, has been stoked by irresponsible reports online and in the media” - -not us, of course -- and “the Observatory, NASA, and others receive daily inquiries from anxious people asking if the “predictions” of doom are correct. The Observatory’s newest planetarium show, 'Time’s Up,' addresses these concerns as part of discussing the fundamental nature of time ('Time’s Up' will show all day December 21).”

Extra showings of "Time's Up" at the planetarium on Dec. 21 will be at 9:45 p.m. and 10:45 p.m.

If nothing else, this "end of the world" issue has been a good marketing hook. A local restaurant is throwing a Dec. 21 Doomsday Party where “magical protective cocktails” will be served. Publicists for the "Flavor of Belize" cookbook wrote to suggest a Dec. 21 Mayan-themed menu with items like Kack’ick Soup, Cochinita Pibil, Grouper in Banana Leaf & Tamales and Maya Chocolate Cake, recipes to be found in the book. And the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium wrote to declare that zoo resident Colo, the oldest-living gorilla, "won’t let an event like the upcoming Mayan doomsday stop her ... She’ll be celebrating her 56th birthday on Dec. 22 with a special cake.”

For more information about the Griffith Observatory’s “Don’t worry, it’s OK” event, go to this Web page.  

And for more about the Maya calendar end-of-the-world myth, go to this NASA site and this one by the observatory. (NASA, fully confident, released a "The World Didn't End" video one week early.)

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