(Mount Palomar, CA, Nov 15) Scientists at the Mount Palomar Observatory in California and Caltech have confirmed that the "blast front" from Comet 17P/Holmes will hit the Earth on Dec 21, 2012. By odd coincidence, this is the day that the Mayan Calendar ends, and is predicted by some to correlate with the end of the world.
By calculating the expansion of the "shock wave" from the comet at 1097.666 miles per hour and the motion of Earth in it's orbit, the scientists were able to predict the time of impact to within several hours of the winter solstice, 2012.
To double check the calculation, which, according to the scientists, required "lots of math", Caltech ran it by the writers of the TV series "Numb3rs", who, because of the writer's strike, were looking for a bit of moonlighting. The verdict - the Caltech calculations were "right on", and Charlie and Amita will get hitched next spring.
Professor Hendrick Heindlicher of Cal Tech, who did the calculation for the observatory, said he found the coincidence "quite interesting, but of course of little significance". "This might lead to some brightening of the Aurora Borealis, but little else", he postulated.
However, according to Barefoot Moonflower of the Esalen Institute, a proponent of Mayan mysticism, this comes as little surprise. "We always knew the 'when' for the end of the world, now we know the 'how' - we just must meditate further to discover the 'why'".
Meanwhile, Janet Hopplemeyer of White Springs, Indiana, who received the report on Monday, forwarded to her by one of her AOL buddies, was quoted as saying, "I guess this means I don't have to do any Christmas Shopping after 2011 - wow, what a relief".