Culture

Please Enjoy Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Lonely, Determined Campaign Against The New Year

Astronomically insignificant...like your tweets.

Astrophysicist and frequent buzzkill-tweeter Neil deGrasse Tyson has a bone to pick. He’s had a bone to pick every time a new year’s rolled around for the past while, actually, because he reckons it’s an “astronomically insignificant” time for the new year to roll around.

Basically, he’s made it his bizarre, lonely mission to remind us every year that January 1 is a totally arbitrary point in the Earth’s lap around the sun. And, like, sure, but also no one was saying it wasn’t?

“Not that anybody’s asked,” he wrote today, “but New Years Day on the Gregorian Calendar is a cosmically arbitrary event, carrying no Astronomical significance at all.” He’s totally right — nobody asked.

Nobody asked at the start of 2017, either, when he tweeted “to all on the Gregorian Calendar, Happy New Year! A day that’s not astronomically significant…in any way…at all…whatsoever.” Nor did anyone ask at the start of 2016, when he tweeted “to all those who reckon time on the Gregorian Calendar — Happy New Year! (FYI: January 1 is astronomically insignificant.)”

No one asked in 2014, 2011, or any of the other years either. Here’s a fairly comprehensive collection of these tweets.

In 2012, his gripe departed from the script a little bit, instead asking why we bother to mark the exact moment of a “fresh Earth orbit” if we’re going to celebrate it at 24 different times in different time zones, despite all riding on the same Earth. This one is a good point, actually.

The one upside of his tweeting the same take every year like clockwork is that salty online pundits have had time to finely hone their responses. Here are a few of this year’s:

Anyway, if you would like to only celebrate events that align with Space Things, Tyson followed up this year’s tweet with a list of celebrations that are actually astronomically meaningful. Here they are, for your reference.