On December 21, 2012, the solstice sun will align with the dark rift in the Milky Way. The dark rift (Great Rift) is the widest part of the Milky Way and corresponds to the direction of the center of the galaxy. As the alignment occurs, the solstice meridian will align with the crossing point of the ecliptic (the path of the Sun, moon and planets) and the plane of the galaxy, which is called the galactic equator, and pass on the other side. Alignments occur every 36 years, but this alignment is unique. At this time the sun appears to just touch one part of the dark rift that snakes its way along the Galactic Equator.
This is an area of the night sky considered important to Maya cosmology with respect to spiritual rebirth mythology. In some versions, the combined gravity of the galactic black hole and the sun will cause earthquakes, tsunamis, floods or severe weather. In other versions the alignment will cause more esoteric issues, such as a blockage of an undefined type of energy emanating from the black hole, or from the galactic core, or both. Aligning with the rift could cause major disturbances in the orbits of inner planets. Some people believe that this event could place the Earth in danger of being sucked into a black hole at the center of the dark rift in the Milky Way.