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Friday, March 18, 2011

March 19 'Supermoon' May Cause Moonquakes, Scientist Says



    Supermoon to make closest pass by Earth on Saturday, March 19, 2011

    Supermoon: The moon will makes its closest approach to Earth on Saturday, appearing closer and larger to the naked eye. The last supermoon was eighteen years ago.

    Supermoon coming Saturday, but did not cause the Japan Tsunami. The moon can be seen above the Earth's atmosphere in this image photographed Sunday March 6, by an Expedition 26 crew member on the International Space Station.
    NASA/AP/File
There’s a supermoon on the rise next week. And according to Internet buzz, it’ll bring a scary surge in natural disasters around the globe.







  Inserted Note from Blogger:  These opinions by mainstream scientists do not take into account statistics showing a rise in recent earthquakes and earthquake intensity, or the predicted 2012 solar flares with historical statistical correlation between solar flares with  the resulting geomagnetic storms and more intense earthquakes. 


(Continuing with mainstream scientists's opinions): 
No way, Jose: Numerous scientists have reassured the public that there's absolutely no correlation between disturbances on Earth and this rare lunar phase. 
But the moon itself? That's another story.

On March 19, Earth’s satellite will be at its closest point to our planet in 18 years -- a mere 356,577 kilometers away. The event -- also called a lunar perigee -- was dubbed a "supermoon" by astrologer Richard Nolle back in the 1970s. The term is used to describe a new or full moon at 90% or more of its closest orbit to Earth. Next week, it will be at 100%.
Nolle is responsible for coining the upcoming event, and he’s also responsible for the latest buzz sweeping the Internet about how the supermoon will affect the planet.


Nolle warns Earth’s inhabitants to prepare themselves during the “supermoon risk window,” which ranges from March 16 – 22. During this time, Nolle claims there will be an increase in supreme tidal surges, magnitude 5 or higher earthquakes, and even volcanic activity.


“If you look at the USGS website where they have all the significant earthquakes of 2011, you will find that 72.7% of them fall in the risk windows on my website,” Nolle told FoxNews.com. “The Christchurch earthquake happened on the last day of a supermoon window. The Haiti earthquake even happened in one of the time windows in my 2010 forecast -- which was published the year before.”

Scientific research said otherwise.

Peter Goldreich, an emeritus professor for the Astronomy and Planetary Science Department at Caltech University, notes that he and several other scientists have studied the moon for decades and have never found it to cause these natural disasters.
“There have been a lot of studies on whether earthquakes on our planet were triggered when the moon was closest to Earth, and no conclusive evidence has ever been found for that,” Goldreich told FoxNews.com. “The idea is that the strain builds up in the Earth until only a small little bit of extra gravitational force could tip it over and cause an earthquake, and this could come from the moon. But there’s been no absolutely no correlation for 
that.”


In fact, Goldreich said Earth isn’t the one in danger of experiencing some shaking.
“There is on the moon seismic activity connected with a lunar perigee,” Goldreich said. “These were detected by seismological instruments left on the moon by the Apollo astronauts. There was an effect, but it wasn’t enormous. But the moon did quake near perigee.”
Just like the orbits of planets around the sun, the moon’s path around the Earth is more elliptical than circular. So within each lunar cycle, there is a part of the orbit when it is closest to Earth and a part when it is farthest away (perigee and apogee, respectively). The tides normally change as the moon goes from perigee to apogee, and next week will be no different.


“You tend to have stronger tides near the full moon,” Gordon Johnston, planetary program executive for NASA, told FoxNews.com. “These will be the strongest tides of the month, but they won’t be much different from last year. They’re not that unusual from other tides around the full moon.” Johnston said the biggest difference is purely cosmetic, with next week’s moon being a sight to behold.



“The moon will be a little closer than it was last year, 1/4,000 of a percent closer,” Johnston told FoxNews.com. “The distance between the Earth and the moon changes a lot in its orbit. Really the only change is that it appears bigger when it’s close. This coming full moon will be the brightest of the year.”



As for the theories purported by Nolle and other astrologers ... well, Johnston hopes that people don't take everything they hear at face value. 


“We live in an age where information gets circulated around very quickly,” Johnston said. “So I would just say to do your research.”






The tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan Friday (March 11) set the Internet abuzz with the idea that the moon, which will be at its fullest of the year on March 19, played a role in the devastating natural disaster. 

The seed for the idea was planted by an astrologer, who contended that this large full moon – a so-called "supermoon"– would touch off natural disasters like theJapan earthquake since the moon would make its closest approach to Earth in 18 years. Scientists, however, dismissed the notion entirely and now a top NASA scientist is weighing in. [Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in Pictures]
In a statement released Friday, noted NASA scientist Jim Garvin explains the mechanics behind the moon's phases and the causes of the supermoon. Garvin is the chief scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
"'Supermoon' is a situation when the moon is slightly closer to Earth in its orbit than on average, and this effect is most noticeable when it occurs at the same time as a full moon," Garvin wrote in the NASA statement. "So, the moon may seem bigger although the difference in its distance from Earth is only a few percent at such times." [Photos: Our Changing Moon]
The full moon of March will occur next Saturday on March 19, when the moon will be about 221,567 miles (356,577 kilometers) away from Earth. The average distance between the Earth and the moon is about 238.000 miles (382.900 km).
"It is called a supermoon because this is a very noticeable alignment that at first glance would seem to have an effect," Garvin explained. "The 'super' in supermoon is really just the appearance of being closer, but unless we were measuring the Earth-Moon distance by laser rangefinders (as we do to track the LRO [Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter] spacecraft in low lunar orbit and to watch the Earth-Moon distance over years), there is really no difference."
It was astrologer Richard Nolle who linked the full moon of March 19 to natural disasters. He claimed that this "supermoon" would trigger massive earthquakes, volcanoes and powerful storms when it arrived. But scientists assure that this is not the case. 
Garvin, for example, said the moon's effects on Earth have been the subject of extensive studies.
"The effects on Earth from a supermoon are minor, and according to the most detailed studies by terrestrial seismologists and volcanologists, the combination of the moon being at its closest to Earth in its orbit, and being in its 'full moon' configuration (relative to the Earth and sun), should not affect the internal energy balance of the Earth since there are lunar tides every day," Garvin wrote.
But while the moon helps drive Earth's tides, it is not capable of triggering devastating earthquakes.
"The Earth has stored a tremendous amount of internal energy within its thin outer shell or crust, and the small differences in the tidal forces exerted by the moon (and sun) are not enough to fundamentally overcome the much larger forces within the planet due to convection (and other aspects of the internal energy balance that drives plate tectonics)," Garvin explained.
Contributors:  
Loren Gresh, Fox News, March 12, 2011
Space.com Staff  Christian Science Monitor / March 18, 2011




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