On March 19th 2011, the moon will make its closest approach to Earth in almost 20 years, possibly triggering earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other disasters.
The phenomenon, called lunar perigee or Supermoon, happens when the moon reaches its absolute closest point to Earth. On March 19, the natural satellite will be only 221,567 miles away from our planet.
There were Supermoons in 1955, 1974, 1992 and 2005, and these years had their share of extreme weather conditions, too. Although there are scientific laws that say the moon affects the Earth, it's still ambiguous whether the lunar perigee and natural disasters is coincidence or not.
Two days after online warnings that the Supermoon might trigger disasters, the devastating Japanese tsunami forced everyone to think - could the movement of the moon cause natural calamities?
"Supermoons have a historical association with strong storms, very high tides, extreme tides and also earthquakes," the Daily Mail quoted astrologer Richard Nolle, who first coined the term in 1979, as saying in an interview with ABC radio.
However, scientists dismiss this as utter nonsense.
Dr David Harland, space historian and author, said, "It's possible that the moon may be a kilometre or two closer to Earth than normal at a perigee, but it's an utterly insignificant event."
Professor George Helffrich, a seismologist at the University of Bristol was equally dismissive.
"Complete nonsense. The moon has no significant effect on earthquake triggering. If the moon triggers "big" earthquakes, it would trigger the many of millions of times more "small" earthquakes that happen daily. There is no time dependence of those; hence no moon effect," he said.
According to Dr Roger Musson, of the British Geological Survey (BGS), the devastating earthquake occurred because the Pacific Plate is plunging underneath Japan.
However, while hoping for a non-disastrous ‘moon giant’, point your eyes and camera lenses toward the night sky on 19th. If the sky is clear, you’re gonna get an exceptional celestial treat.
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