A solar flare will breach Earth’s magnetic field that typically shelters our planet’s surface from such hazards. The ensuing onslaught would fry all electronic devices in the world and cut power grids. Chaos would ubiquitously surface causing anarchy in a Mad Max type of scenario. New age prophets have for years labeled technology as the devil’s tool, along with money which is today almost exclusively controlled online, and its annihilation would signify humanity’s break from these shackles and the beginning of a new age. Other doomsday scenarios say that once with December 21 a huge solar flare would devastatingly hit Earth with radiation purging all life.

Reality check

Solar flares are indeed hazardous to technology. It’s not unheard of satellites that go offline, sometimes permanently, as a result of being hit by solar flares or coronal mass ejections triggered by the sun. A famous historical event, sure to be mentioned by doomsday promoters, is the 1989 Hydro-Québec’s electricity transmission system as a result of a severe electromagnetic storm. The huge energy fried the grid, and since it was still the Cold War, many people were engulfed in panic. Also at least 30 satellites, some of which were beyond repair.

Our sun works in 11 year cycles. Currently, we’re at the end of the sun’s cycle, with its peak scheduled around 2013 and 2014. Doomsday conspirators take advantage of this close proximity to induce panic by linking it to the end of the Mayan calendar. First of all, while high energy particles indeed hit Earth’s magnetic field, the damage is by no means harmful to humans, so the “radiation” scenario doesn’t apply from the get go.

NASA has reported that the current solar cycle is of average intensity, and shouldn’t be more damaging or harmless than the past cycles the sun went through. Again, the the peak of the solar cycle will occur in 2014, not at the end of 2012.

Read about other popular Mayan doomsday “prophecies” from our debunking series: