Tag: Richard Nolle

Kryptonite for the supermoon

By Phil Plait | March 18, 2011 12:01 pm

[NOTE (added March 19): It occurs to me that some people might see the Moon rising today and think it looks HUGE because it's a "supermoon". However, it's far more likely they're falling victim to the famous Moon Illusion. You can read all about it here.]

If you believe the mainstream media, you might think this weekend’s "supermoon" will cause earthquakes, volcanoes, bad weather, halitosis, dust bunnies, and hangnails.

Guess what I think of this idea! Hint: check the name of my blog. Got it? Good.

In reality, this "supermoon" nonsense is, well, nonsense. I have some details below, but for those of you who are impatient (the tl;dr crowd) here are the bullet points:

  • Yes, the Moon is closer today than usual, but only by less than 2%.
  • This does happen around full Moon, which is when we get bigger tides, but that happens every single month. The Moon being closer amplifies that, but only a tiny little bit.
  • The Moon’s possible effect on earthquakes has been studied for a long time. The result? Major earthquakes are not correlated with the Moon’s position or distance.
  • Therefore,

  • Anyone claiming this "supermoon" can cause earthquakes or whatnot is, to be blunt, totally, completely, utterly, wrong.

Say.

OK, so, how about some details?
Read More

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