The sun follows an 11-year cycle that is currently building toward its "solar max," during which time the sun is more active. When solar storms occur, the sun can emit tides of electromagnetic radiation, known as coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. CMEs are essentially balls of plasma, and when they reach Earth, they release energy visible as colorful auroras. They may be pretty, but they unleash static discharges that can disrupt or knock out power grids. Solar flares, eruptions of supercharged protons, can reach Earth in minutes and also have catastrophic consequences.
NASA says modern power grids are so interconnected that a large sun storm could cause failures that would cut power to 130 million people in the U.S. alone. Outages would cost trillions of dollars and take years to fix, communications would be cut off, international trade might halt, and millions of people could die. Sound like science fiction? In 1859, a solar storm caused telegraph wires to short out in the U.S. and Europe, and in 1989, a solar storm knocked out power to all of Quebec, Canada. However, NASA predicts that the solar max that will occur in the 2012-2014 time frame will be average and says their is no special risk associated with 2012
Planet X, or Nibiru, is the supposed 10th planet in our solar system — if we're counting Pluto. According to the Planet X theory, Nibiru is enormous and is on a 3,600-year elliptical orbit that places it in Earth’s gravitational proximity in 2012 — an event that would cause flooding, earthquakes and worldwide destruction. Proponents of the theory cite earthquake and weather data as evidence of the planet’s increasing influence on Earth, and some say that Egyptian records show that the Planet X “flyby” corresponds to Noah’s great flood and the sinking of Atlantis.
However, astronomers say there’s no evidence to support Planet X theory and that if the planet did exist, humans would be able to see such a large planet with the naked eye. The Nibiru catastrophe was initially predicted to occur in May 2003, but the date was later changed to the infamous Dec. 21, 2012.
Whether you believe in man-made warming or not, there’s no denying the planet is getting hotter. In fact, 2010 tied 2005 for the warmest year on record with global temperatures 1.12 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. And there are some who say that we’re running out of time to stop irreversible climate change — in fact, by some calculations we’re less than a decade away.
According to climate scientists, once a critical greenhouse gas concentration threshold is passed, global warming will continue even if we stop releasing gases into the atmosphere. If this occurs, the Earth’s climate will become more volatile, resulting in catastrophic weather patterns. Plus, as temperatures rise, food will become scarce, air quality will worsen and diseases will spread. The World Health Organization estimates that 150,000 people are already killed by climate change-related issues each year, and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said that global warming poses as much of a threat to the world as war.
While the continents do make slow movements, scientists say it’s extremely unlikely they would cause the poles to reverse
The Cold War is over, but the threat of nuclear war still exists today, with a number of countries possessing the capability of deploying such destructive devices. In addition to threats from the explosion and radiation, there are also indirect effects such as contaminated food and water supplies, poor air quality, destruction of power grids affecting communication and transportation, and nuclear winter.
It’s been theorized that detonating nuclear weapons will cause large amounts of smoke, soot and debris to enter Earth’s stratosphere, reducing sunlight for months or even years. Such a nuclear winter would result in severe cold temperatures and interference in food production. In 2007, scientists Brian Toon and Alan Robock concluded that if India and Pakistan were to launch 50 nuclear weapons at each other, the entire planet could experience 10 years of smoke clouds and a three-year temperature drop.
Movies like “Deep Impact” and “Armageddon” may be works of fiction, but the threat of an asteroid hitting the planet is quite real. After all, the Earth and moon have craters that prove they have a long history of being hit by large objects from space.
In 2028, the asteroid 1997XF11 will come close to hitting Earth, but scientists say that won't actually happen. However, if it were to hit the planet, the mile-wide rock would race toward the surface at roughly 30,000 mph and probably wipe out most life on the planet. The species that did survive would be in for a rough life after such a catastrophic event. Dust from the impact and ash from the forest fires would remain in the Earth’s atmosphere for years, blocking sunlight and destroying plant life, which would cause food shortages worldwide. However, NASA's Spaceguard Survey searched for large near-Earth asteroids and has determined that there are no threatening asteroids as large as the one that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.