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article imageNASA releases video to counter 'super moon' catastrophe worries

article:304854:48::0
By Michael Krebs     Mar 20, 2011 in Science
To counter rising internet speculation that a 'super moon' can cause widespread natural disasters, NASA distributed a video on the orbital phenomenon.
As recurring orbital events are concerned, "super moons" have their own astrological catastrophe theorists. With the specter of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami on the collective minds of humanity, this is understandable and at least forgivable.
The theory ascertains that a "super moon," a full moon at lunar perigee that occurs every 18 to 20 years, draws close enough to the earth to trigger large scale events like earthquakes and volcano eruptions.
"The question is not actually so crazy. In fact scientists have studied related scenarios for decades. Even under normal conditions, the moon is close enough to Earth to make its weighty presence felt: It causes the ebb and flow of the ocean tides," International Business Times reported, attributing a Space.com article.
In an effort to counter these prophesies, NASA released a video on the internet to explain the nature of the "super moon" phenomenon.
"Full moons vary in size because of the oval shape of the moon's orbit," the NASA voice-over explains. "It is an ellipse, with one side, perigee, about 50,000 kilometers closer to the earth than the other, apogee."
The NASA video further explained that a "super moon" is just 14 percent larger than lesser and more usual moons.
"A perigee full moon brings with it extra-high perigean tides, but this is nothing to worry about," NASA notes in the video. "In most places, lunar gravity at perigee pulls tide waters only a few centimeters, that is an inch or so, higher than usual."
NASA specifically addresses the internet theorists as well, explaining that full moons at perigee do not trigger natural disasters. Instead, as NASA suggests, "super moons" offer another opportunity to observe and enjoy nature's beauty.
article:304854:48::0
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