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Friday, March 18, 2011

Super Perigeee - Moon to be closest to Earth on March 19, 2011

Sure you would also have heard of Apogee and Perigee which are the point of farthest and nearest. Have you heard of  Apsis  ?

Reports are agog of Super moon – the earth’s natural satellite coming closer than it has ever been in the last 18 years and looming closer at  356,577km from Earth.  This is reported to be almost 30,000km closer than the moon's average distance from Earth of 382,900km.

Have you heard of the word ‘Perspicaciousness’ – the noun means – keenness of perception and discernment.  For ages, celestial objects have enthused the imagination of mankind.  We have all grown hearing various stories of moon – that beautiful round object on the clear night sky (on a full moon day).  There are poets who have composed volumes and in olden day cinemas, hero and heroin under the influence of love would think of each other in moonlight and would start sing – when the rest of the World would be fast asleep.  

Those who have seen various pictures of moon closely, would have observed that images of moon differ not only in size, but also in the position of features on the disc of the moon.  There has been assertion that moon always keeps the same face towards the earth.  is the point of greatest or least distance of a body

Apsis is the point of greatest or least distance of a body from one of the focus of its elliptical orbit.  Apsis is either of the two points  -farthest or nearest the center of attraction in an eccentric astronomical orbit.  The Focus is the centre of mass of the system and is the centre of attraction.    The point of closest approach is called periapsis and the farthest is apoapsis. Apogee and Perigee refer to orbits around the Earth, Aphelion and Perihelion refers to orbits around the Sun; Pericynthion and Apochynthion refer to moon.  

The natural satellite of earth, the moon is the fifth largest one in the Solar system.  It is in synchronous rotation with Earth – near side marked by dark volcanic highlands and prominent impact craters. Its bright although its surface is dark.  It has been important influencer on language, the calendar, art and mythology. It also possesses gravitational influence causing tides in the ocean, especially during full moon days.  The orbital distance which is around 30 times the diameter of the Earth gives it larger appearance and allows causal of solar eclipses.  It so far is the only celestial body on which humans have landed. 

Oceanic waves behave differently and tides are the periodic rise and fall of ocean waters, caused by gravitational pulls of the moon.  
The timing of tides is determined by the Earth's rotation and the Moon's orbit around the Earth. As the Earth rotates once about its axis in 24 hours, the Moon is moving 1/30th of the way around in its orbit.

Some astronomers say that in a rare alignment of circumstances, the lunar perigee is to happen on 19th Mar 2011.  on this day, the moon would be closest to earth in the past 18 years – due to which it would look bigger and about 15% brighter than usual. .  Perigee moons are not only bigger and brighter but also would brin extra high tides.    There are some e mails and news circulating conspiracy theories of super moon about to cause disaster, which seemingly has no scientific basis.  

The last time moon came closer was on Mar 1993, when it passed off without any notable incident. The illusion would give a stunning view and despite the distance of some 356,577 km away, it would indeed be a beauty. There have been full moons (once a month) but this one would be fuller still, and is worthy to be watched.

Regards – S. Sampthkumar

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