Monday, March 14, 2011

Supermoon.

On March 19th, the moon is full and is also at its closest point to Earth on its elliptical orbit. There is a great deal of fuss being generated about this, and this astronomical event is already being blamed for the Japanese earthquake and tsunami even though it's still five days from happening.

Why does the full moon matter? Because a full moon means the Earth is directly between the moon and the sun. However, the moon's gravity and the difference in distance over its orbit is just not enough to raise so much as the hairs on the back of your neck. There is no measurable physical effect of this event, and certainly no measurable effect a week before it even happens.

The full moon has psychological effects on people. That has been recognised for a long time, hence the term 'lunatic' and the association of all kinds of weird behaviours with the full moon.

The moon influences tides, we know this for certain.

But plate tectonics? Moving water around is one thing, moving rock is quite another. The moon just doesn't have the density to exert that kind of pull on subterranean rocks. If it did, we'd all feel lighter and weigh measurably less during one of these events due to the moon's gravity counteracting part of Earth's. If it can shift continental plates it will certainly affect little organic masses like us. It doesn't.

So no, next week's supermoon did not cause last week's disaster.

It is, however, a great photo opportunity if the clouds are kind to us.

5 comments:

Southern Writer said...

I haven't had time to study the chart for the Japan quake, but I wouldn't be surprised if another one happened on the 19th or 20th. The reason is because the full Moon and the sun will square Pluto, who is the ruler of earthquakes, and the sun is in the last degree of Pisces, moving into Aries to conjunct Uranus, planet of the surprising, unexpected, and disruptive. And are squared by the moon's nodes.

Anyway, have you heard that it's possible Atlantis has been found off the coast of Spain? National Geographic is doing a special on it next Sunday night.

Regina Richards said...

I almost hope it isn't true that they've found Atlantis. Some mysteries are more delicious because they are never solved.

Southern Writer said...

You're so right, RR, and yet, I'm so curious that I can't help myself. I want to watch the special to see if I agree with them or not. Apparently one guy who disputes it says Atlantis is really Ireland.

Romulus Crowe said...

Atlantis pops up here and there from time to time. I prefer the 'wait and see' approach to new discoveries.

One day, maybe they will find it. The thing is, submerged towns aren't uncommon in this part of the world. There are parts of the sea around the UK that used to be dry land - there was a pretty big patch once joining the UK and Europe. So there are a few submerged towns even here.

Around the Mediterranean countries, where big-city building goes back to Roman and Greek and sometimes earlier, there are lots of coastal areas that have sunk over time. Sometimes they disappeared abruptly in an earthquake.

One of them might well be Atlantis. Finding out which is the real challenge.

tom sheepandgoats said...

Well.....maybe the moon can't influence earthquakes for the reasons you state. But perhaps a supermoon can! At least, are the people who coin such words encouraging us to think that way? After all, cannot Superman do much more than just a man of the regular variety?

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