Exposing PseudoAstronomy

April 1, 2012

New Nostradamus Quatrain for 2012 Discovered

Edited to Add (Dec. 09, 2012): Okay folks, one of the top search engine directs I’m getting to my blog is for stuff along the lines of “nostradamus quatrain 2012” and folks are getting this post. Let me be clear: THIS WAS AN APRIL FOOLS POST. That is all. Now, on with the show …


I usually don’t pay any heed to alleged prophecies or stuff like that, and I have written extensively about the 2012 stuff that won’t happen, but I was just made aware of this quatrain of Nostradamus that talks about 2012 and is uncannily foretelling:

In the year the sun shows his phases
And the second planet eclipses the brightest star,
The grand empire’s calendar foretells
The secret death of the world.

Now, as an astronomer, I found this particularly interesting. The first line seems crazy – the sun can’t show phases because it’s a star and is always “lit” relative to, well, any vantage point. But … during a solar eclipse, when the moon starts to cover it, it does sorta look like the sun is going through different phases. There’s a total solar eclipse in May 2012.

The second line also seems interesting. The brightest star in the night sky is Sirius, which is at a declination of -16° 43′, meaning that Venus could never eclipse it – pass in front of it. But, then I remembered a joke that we sometimes play on people. Ask someone on the street what the brightest star in the sky is, and most won’t know and they’ll throw out random guesses. The answer, of course, is the sun! (This also works for the closest star, though most will guess proxima Centauri.) And, in June 2012, Venus passes in front of the Sun as viewed from Earth, an event that won’t happen again for over 100 years.

So we have two lines that seem to uncannily point towards 2012. The third one, if we want to go with 2012, seems to point towards the Mayan calendar, though one could argue about how “grand” the Mayan civilization was. After all, they let themselves be destroyed by the Spanish conquistadors.

And then there’s the fourth line (I did mention this was a quatrain, right?). Doom and gloom in 2012? Kinda raises goosebumps on your skin, even if you don’t believe in 2012 stuff. After all, how could a guy writing in the 1500s know about this?


  1. As it was said in the rebooted Battlestar Galactica: “All this has happened before. All this will happen again.”

    Does this quatrain apply to anything time in history before it was written?

    Maybe we can cross-reference previous occurrences of the solar events with some arcane knowledge of history predating Nostradamus.

    Comment by ND — April 5, 2012 @ 9:46 pm | Reply

  2. That this was posted on 1 April is probably not an accident.

    Comment by Jim — April 5, 2012 @ 10:02 pm | Reply

  3. A Google for that exact quatrain has two hits: both to this blog entry!

    What are you up to, Stu?

    Comment by Chew Bird — April 5, 2012 @ 10:26 pm | Reply

  4. “The grand empire’s calendar” cannot refer to the Maya though as there was no empire in this area. If you want to follow this line of thought, check out 2027. Are the same things (or something similar) happening that year? 2027 is the year when the next Aztec calendar round ends (and they had an empire). If you know anything about this it would be great to know since I am planning to write a “2027” post on my blog.

    Comment by Johan Normark — April 5, 2012 @ 10:27 pm | Reply

  5. Oh, I see, this was posted on April 1. Why did it show up in my reader today?

    Comment by Johan Normark — April 5, 2012 @ 10:29 pm | Reply

    • Okay, I guess the cat’s already out of the bag if anyone bothers to read the comments, so I’ll reply to you on this. Many people today will make up “prophecies” and then just claim that other people who are more famous for making them up said them. So they sorta retrodict the postdicted prophecies. I wrote this post today, but then back-posted it to April 1 in that tradition.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — April 5, 2012 @ 10:31 pm | Reply

      • Too bad that it wasn’t “true” since I plan to create a bogus entry regarding 2027. I could have used the information from “Nostradamus” to strengthen my argument. But now I see that I can still make that connection by making things up myself.

        Comment by Johan Normark — April 5, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

      • If you want any help finding any “weird” astronomy stuff in 2027, let me know.

        Comment by Stuart Robbins — April 5, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

  6. I just want to say that I’ve been following you for some time, and I really enjoy the commentary. Although I realize this post was a joke, what you said about the Maya is grossly incorrect. The Maya NEVER predicted the end of the world in 2012. It was New Agers who infiltrated Native American/Meso-American spiritual traditions that brought their Western/Judeo-Christo sensibilities and projected them unto indigenous traditions. What it boils down to is millennialist prophecy coulped with fear-monger profiteering. These New Age quacks make loads of money selling books, speaking, and conducting neo-indigenous rituals that have no semblance to the real thing.

    Another thing. The Maya did not “let themselves get destroyed by the Spanish,” as you say. The Maya are still around today in southern Mexico and all of Guatemala, and it took the Spanish nearly a hundred years to really penetrate into Maya territory. By that point, the great Maya city-states of the classical period had been in decline for almost 500 years. Just thought I’d point this out.

    I’m a historian in training (PhD), and my specialty is US Southwest and Mexico, so I know a thing or two about he subject. I think what bothers me most, not you in particular – rather in general, is when people who are not knowledgeable in one field but are so in another, make outlandish and incorrect conclusions and assumptions about a field they are not immersed in. Think of it in terms of how you feel about the creationist quacks and their use of astronomy to justify their ridiculous claims.

    Keep up the good fight….respect.

    Comment by kali0x — April 6, 2012 @ 8:25 am | Reply

    • Yup, I know these and have written about it (and had Johan do a guest post). I wrote that with the intent that it would be part of the reveal that this was an April Fools post.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — April 6, 2012 @ 8:33 am | Reply

      • Cool. It’s good that you are aware of the complexities and nuances.

        Comment by kali0x — April 19, 2012 @ 6:31 am

    • You need to follow your own advise because I don’t think you are qualified to call the Creationists a bunch of quacks.You have obviously not studied the Holy Bible enough to even briefly mention it in any context.

      Comment by xqqqsmeee — August 11, 2012 @ 1:19 pm | Reply

  7. And now, some french astrologers, came up with a date. 24:06:2012. with the sugestive title ”Rage of Lilith” the dark moon.

    Comment by Lisbon — May 22, 2012 @ 2:07 pm | Reply

  8. There will be a solar eclipse more darker and gloomy than any since the creation of the world…
    And it will be such that one will think the gravity of earth has lost it natural movement and that it is to be plunged into the abase of a perpectual darkness


    Comment by KJ — September 30, 2012 @ 5:52 pm | Reply

  9. i think the empire’s calendar tells about the mayan calendar

    Comment by grace — December 11, 2012 @ 4:16 am | Reply

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