Friday, March 18, 2011

blue moon

i know the term blue moon refers to two full moons in a calendar month. it doesn't happen often.


but what also doesn't happen often is what is happening tomorrow. called a lunar perigee, on saturday, march 19th the full moon event will coincide with the closest the moon has been to earth in 18 years, making the orb appear 15% larger and 30% brighter than it does normally.


i love moon facts, and this one is particularly cool - as a cancerian, i am ruled by the moon and am fascinated by everything about this swift moving orb. 


so if you have clear skies on saturday, take a moment to go outside and bathe yourself in the light of this once in a blue moon....it isn't set to happen again until 2029.


(and if you have an extra moment to consider the power of the moon's gravitational pull on earth - take a look at these two articles, one written on March 1st and the other on March 10th, just prior to the Japan earthquake.) 


kind of makes you wonder........



Extreme Super (Full) Moon to Cause Chaos?

by Mark Paquette Mar 1, 2011; 7:54 AM ET
Coming up later this month (March 19 to be exact) the moon will make its closest approach to Earth (called lunar perigee) in 18 years. A new or full moon at 90% or greater of its closest perigee to Earth has been named a "SuperMoon" by astrologer Richard Nolle. This term has been recently picked up by astronomers. An extreme "SuperMoon" is when the moon is full or new as well as at its 100% greater mean perigee (closest) distance to earth. By this definition, last month's full moon, this month's and next month's will all be extreme "SuperMoons".
Please visit Richard's website by clicking here.
I have read several "new age" forecasts that go something like this: "Extreme SuperMoon this month (March 2011) will bring strong earthquakes and storms and/or unusual climate patterns." Google the term 'extreme SuperMoon March 2011' and see for yourself what comes up. The validity of these types of forecasts can be debated ad nauseum.
There were SuperMoons in 1955, 1974, 1992 and 2005. These years had their share of extreme weather and other natural events. Is the Super Moon and these natural occurences a coincidence? Some would say yes; some would say no. I'm not here to pick sides and say I'm a believer or non-believer in subjects like this, but as a scientist I know enough to ask questions and try to find answers.
We obviously know that there are scientific laws that say the moon affects the Earth (i.e. tides). There are also less proven theories that propose that the moon affects the Earth in other ways (i.e. abnormal behavior during a full moon). Can the Super (full) Moon contribute to extreme weather and other natural phenomenon?
AccuWeather Facebook fanpage member Daniel Vogler adds, "The last extreme super moon occurred was on January 10th, 2005, right around the time of the 9.0 Indonesia earthquake. That extreme super moon was a new moon. So be forewarned. Something BIG could happen on or around this date. (+/- 3 Days is my guess)"
So what can we expect this time? Earthquakes? Volcanic eruptions? I guess we can only wait and see.


March 19, 2011… “SuperMoon” or “SuperHype”?

by TAMMY PLOTNER on MARCH 10, 2011

Credit: JPL/NASA












I mean no disrespect for those who enjoy the study of astrology. Some of the greatest astronomers of the past were also astrologers. To practice either line requires a deep understanding of our solar system, its movements and the relationship to the celestial sphere. The only thing I have difficulty swallowing is how a perfectly normal function could wreak havoc on planet Earth. Does an astrological prediction of an upcoming “Extreme SuperMoon” spell impending disaster – or is it just one more attempt to excite our natural tendencies to love a good gloom and doom story? That’s what I set about to find out…
On March 19, 2011 the Moon will pass by Earth at a distance of 356,577 kilometers (221,567 miles) – the closest pass in 18 years . In my world, this is known as lunar perigee and a normal lunar perigee averaging a distance of 364,397 kilometers (226,425 miles) happens… well… like clockwork once every orbital period. According to astrologer, Richard Nolle, this month’s closer than average pass is called an Extreme SuperMoon. “SuperMoon is a word I coined in a 1979 article for Dell Publishing Company’s HOROSCOPE magazine, describing what is technically termed a perigee-syzygy; i.e. a new or full Moon (syzygy) which occurs with the Moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth (perigee) in a given orbit.” says Richard. “In short, Earth, Moon and Sun are all in a line, with Moon in its nearest approach to Earth.”
Opinions aside, it is a scientific fact when the Moon is at perigee there is more gravitational pull, creating higher tides or significant variations in high and low tides. In addition, the tidal effect of the Sun’s gravitational field increases the Moon’s orbital eccentricity when the orbit’s major axis is aligned with the Sun-Earth vector. Or, more specifically, when the Moon is full or new. We are all aware of Earth’s tidal bulges. The average tidal bulge closely follows the Moon in its orbit, and the Earth rotates under this tidal bulge in just over a day. However, the rotation drags the position of the tidal bulge ahead of the position directly under the Moon. It produces torque… But is it above average torque when the Moon is closer? It you ask a geologist, they’ll tell you no. If you ask an astronomer, they’ll tell you that just about any cataclysmic Earth event can be related to stars. But if you ask me, I’ll tell you that you should draw your own opinion. Even the American Meteorlogical Society states: “Tidal forces contribute to ocean currents, which moderate global temperatures by transporting heat energy toward the poles. It has been suggested that in addition to other factors, harmonic beat variations in tidal forcing may contribute to climate changes.”

Credit: Richard Nolle
“SuperMoons are noteworthy for their close association with extreme tidal forces working in what astrologers of old used to call the sublunary world: the atmosphere, crust and oceans of our home planet – including ourselves, of course. From extreme coastal tides to severe storms to powerful earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the entire natural world surges and spasms under the sway of the SuperMoon alignment – within three days either way of the exact syzygy, as a general rule.” says Nolle. “Obviously it won’t be the case that all hell will break loose all over the world within a few days either side of the SuperMoons. For most of us, the geocosmic risk raised by SuperMoon alignments will pass with little notice in our immediate vicinity. This is a rather roomy planet, after all. But the fact remains that a SuperMoon is planetary in scale, being a special alignment of Earth, Sun and Moon. It’s likewise planetary in scope, in the sense that there’s no place on Earth not subject to the tidal force of the perigee-syzygy.”
If you take the time to really look at Nolle’s work, you’ll find that he does not believe earthquakes and volcanic eruptions go wandering all over the planet. They happen in predictable locations, like the infamous “Ring of Fire” around the Pacific plate. “If you’re in (or plan to be in) a place that’s subject to seismic upheaval during a SuperMoon stress window, it’s not hard to figure out that being prepared to the extent that you can is not a bad idea. Likewise, people on the coast should be prepared for extreme tidal surges. Severe storms on the other hand can strike just about anywhere, so it behooves us all to be ready for rough weather when a SuperMoon alignment forms.”
Does this mean I’m about to buy into astrology? Not hardly. But what I do believe in is respect for other’s work and opinions. It’s very obvious that Nolle has done his astronomy homework – as well as paying close attention to current political and social situations. “That said, there’s no harm in making sensible preparations for this year’s SuperMoons.” quips Richard. “The worst that can happen, if the worst doesn’t happen, is that you end up with a stock of fresh batteries and candles, some extra bottled water and canned goods, maybe a full tank of gas and an evacuation bag packed just in case. (The US Department of Homeland Security has a detailed evacuation kit inventory that, to quote them, “could mean the difference between life and death”.) And maybe you’ll think twice about being in transit and vulnerable to the weather hazards and delays that are so common during SuperMoon alignments. These are the kind of sensible precautions that can make a big difference if the worst does come to pass.”
What do I believe will happen during an Extreme SuperMoon? I think if we aren’t having two snowstorms followed by a nocturnal tornado and then chased down by a week of flooding in Ohio, that the March Worm Moon will appear to be about 30% brighter and about 15% larger than a “normal” full Moon. If I were an astrophotographer, I’d be getting out my camera (and hip waders) to do a few comparison shots with upcoming full Moons. But considering all things are equal?
I think I’ll just stay home.
Be sure to visit Richard Nolle’s page SuperMoon for more insight!



Photo courtesy of Google images

25 comments:

  1. This is all so fascinating. Blue moon. That is one gorgeous photograph. It does make one wonder, with the Japan earthquake and all. I'm inclined to stay inside also!

    And thanks for commenting on my post about my brother's passing. Keeper of Memories. I think that will be a title. I like yours: Keeper of Mysteries. Fascinating. Intriguing. As the Greek culture is. Coming in and out of your blog makes me want to read the book I bought a while back about Greece. It's written for youth--this really is my speed--and illustrated beautifully. It looks very user friendly. It's been a long time since I read Greek Mythology, but that book is still on my shelf, too.

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  2. My granddaughter was born 18 years ago ... She is spectacular .. the 'extreme supermoon' matches her personality perfectly.

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  3. Blue moon and a 'blue' great and interesting post! Enjoyed reading it and learn some new things. Have a wonderful view of the blue moon!

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  4. Very cool! I love the moon. I need to figure out how to get a good shot tomorrow night. :)

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  5. Fascinating facts. I will hope for clear skies.

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  6. Very interesting articles. I read about the "supermoon" today and am hoping for clear skies tomorrow night.

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  7. Fascinating ! I love getting out to watch the full moon rise, am going to hope the weather will be clear tonight so we can see it... with tripod and camera nearby...

    I think it is very plausible that the moon's gravity which causes the tides could also have effects on the Earth's crust... guess we'll just have to wait and see if this super moon has any mischief left...

    Great articles, great post, many thanks...

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  8. thanks for all that great information. i love anything lunar ...will keep an eye on the moon tomorrow night.....thanks!

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  9. If the moon is that much closer, and apparently larger and brighter, should we expect more lunacy than usual from people?

    Being a Bear, I need to understand these things human.

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  10. Oh Amanda,
    you certainly hit a cord with me with this marvelous post.;)
    When you get to know me you will know that I am OBSESSED with the moon.
    Infinite fascination and absolute attraction - that is the description of my relationship with this celestial body.
    At times I am worried I will bore my readers silly with all the lunar posts I share, as well as the amateur images I try to capture. I can never ever get enough of this beautiful silver disc, thus I truly enjoyed this read and all the interesting articles you shared.
    As a scientist and a very spiritual being as well I can relate to so much that is in the text above.

    Luckily the weather is suppose to be clear tonight and I can not wait to be outside with my camera capturing this moment that will not come back for another twenty years.;)

    Have a wonderful Saturday,
    xoxo

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  11. I don't understand it all, but I also don't understand how anyone can think that we are so isolated as to not be affected by the moon, other planets and the sun activity. We are all part of one system - and what happens out there, affects us. Very interesting reads.

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  12. fantastic Amanda - I too am fascinated by the moon. I will share this on my fb page. We have clouds at the moment so may not have much of a moonrise here but i shall be checking :)
    many thanks

    ps just back from moz - will be posting update soon soon and let u know

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  13. ann - keeper of memories and keeper of mysteries -- thanks for bringing that aspect to my attention♡

    i'd love to know what book it is you are reading on greece?

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    helen - i wonder if your granddaughter is a true moonchild, born in late june or july? she sounds quite formidable! xx

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    philip - i am hoping we have a clear view of the moon tonight -- wishing the same for you as it rises over oraia hellada xo

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    halcyon - i look forward to seeing the image you capture.

    thanks for dropping by ♡

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  14. Everybody has an opinion. Truth is, no one knows why/how/when. It's great that we try to figure it out, though. We are such curious animals.

    I'm feeling that ole devil moon, though - definitely! Aren't you? Holy cow.

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  15. rosaria - it would be just as interesting from your unique perspective on the west coast to see the setting moon in early morning and observe if it appears as large?

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    farmchick - keeping fingers crossed for clear skies!

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    owen - as the moon controls the earth's tides, you can only wonder if having it loom closer would have a noticeable effect. let's hope there isn't any more 'mischief' on the horizon.....

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    mermaid - i would guess that mermaids especially feel the pull of the moon ;-)

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  16. r-bear -- you are a very observant and astute student of the human species. be on the look out for unusually significant amounts of lunacy amongst this species. especially being that it falls on a saturday night......

    xx

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    zuzana, we are truly on the same page with this one. i have been fixated on the moon since i was a child - can't help myself. and when i'm on a beach and see a full moon the combination is scintillating.

    wishing you clear skies and a steady hand with the camera and will await the glorious images you capture.

    wishing you a celestially significant weekend as well♡

    xx

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    mim - you hit the nail on the head. i cannot understand how anyone would NOT think we could be affected by the moon's pull, let alone the rest of the solar system.

    you say it so well - we are all connected and part of the same universe - which is why it is called a system...

    xxx

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    welcome back dear val!!! cannot wait to hear how your trip went - been thinking of you in moz -- hope all is well with lucas and the kids and matsopane.

    hugs and have a great weekend

    xoxo

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  17. reya - didn't see your comment sneak in there while i was answering! :0

    you know, i haven't yet felt an effect from this supermoon but the day is young - sounds like it's been powerful for you.......i wonder how so?

    yeah, we can't always answer the why/how/when but by goddess we try - it's what makes us so lovable, fascinating........and maddening...

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  18. The Corfu moon is sailing above high broken clouds, but they are clearing.

    The physical effects of the moon on the earth are a matter of fact, and the effect on my spirit a lot of your friends above share. We can enjoy this privately, and cry for the people who do not notice the moon.

    The moon now carries with it a little corner mirror that reflects laser light back, telling us the moons distance to a few inches. BUT, why does the moon seem so much bigger when it is just above the horizon? Has anyone read a plausible explanation of this?

    I am afraid i will not be asking an astrologer. Wonderful post Amanda.

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  19. Pity that I read it only now:( But yes, yesterdy I had a usual glance at the sky and that's true, the moon was quite huge!Have a nice week!

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  20. I cannot even count the number of lunar events I have enjoyed over the years. My earliest memories of the moon were of my daddy waking us up to see an eclipse (to photograph - age 6). Over the years we have watched incredible "sky shows" and I know that my mom and daddy watched the moon rise last night as he lets me know in advance. Oh, and not to worry, I have passed this down to my children and am working on the next generation as well.

    Loved the articles and links! It was spectacular last night and so glad that we had clear skies... watched it go down this morning too.

    Bises,
    Genie

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  21. Missed this event. We've had rain and cloudt skies both days. I suppose I will have to wait till 2029 ... I wonder where I was during the last perigee because I cannot recall it at all and I love to observe the moon.

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  22. Grandmother Moon - isn't she lovely?

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  23. We've had a super storm here so missed it entirely, the rain is coming down like a waterfall. I admit i was a little disappointed.

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  24. Mother Nature and Planet Earth certainly have ways and means of reminding us humans of our place here!!!

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  25. Super interesting post, Amanda. I have yet to catch up on all the posts I've missed while tending to my mom, but this one surely caught my eye, as she flew away on the super moon.

    Thanks for sifting through what must have been scores of articles on this phenomenon to give us this information and these links...very exciting stuff, now matter what the perspective.

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