March 19 to usher in 'super moon'

Mar 18, 2011
Photo by: Holly S. Edwards Though not a full moon, like the one expected March 19, an especially bright moon like this one makes it possible to see more than just a glowing orb in the sky.

The full moon Saturday, March 19 will be closer to Earth than it has been in nearly 20 years.

Since the moon’s orbit is elliptical, its distance from the earth is not constant. Some full moons are closer, some farther away. The unusually close ones are called “super moons."

According to a press release from the Maine Department of Conservation, the moon hasn’t been this close to Earth since 1992, so if weather conditions cooperate, when the moon rises at 7:13 p.m. on March 19, it will appear up to 16 percent bigger and significantly brighter than other full moons in recent history, treating earth to a bit of drama in the night sky.

Some say super moons are tied to more than just a well-lit sky, pointing to correlations between extreme moons and the occurrence of epic natural disasters on earth, according to the Department of Conservation release. There was a super moon in 1955, for example, when Australia experienced devastating floods. Another, smaller one coincided with the Indonesian earthquake and tsunami the day after Christmas in 2005 … and now, of course, there’s Japan.

Astronomers, meteorologists, and virtually all of mainstream science, however, concur that there is absolutely no scientific basis on which to draw such conclusions. Any relationship between super moons and catastrophes, such as floods, earthquakes, and tsunamis, most scientists stress, is purely coincidental.


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