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Moon Earth Space Science

See The Supermoon Tonight 102

Posted by timothy
from the wear-no-kryptonite dept.
watermark writes "About every 28 years a 'supermoon' occurs. This is when the moon's orbit is closest to earth at the same time as a full moon. Saturday night will be the biggest, brightest full moon you will see in the next 28 years." The buzzkills at Space.com explain though that (For North Americans at least) you'll actually only be seeing a "waning gibbous moon," but it should still be spectacular.
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See The Supermoon Tonight

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  • by thomasdz (178114) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @09:43AM (#35541930)

    Does anybody research these things?? It's not that THAT unusual. Slashdot is turning into Digg.
    Do a Google search on "supermoon hype" and read the links!

    Arrrggghhh

    • by thomasdz (178114) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @09:46AM (#35541948)

      The best popular link I could find is from Phil Plait's "Bad Astronomy" blog:
      http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/03/18/kryptonite-for-the-supermoon/ [discovermagazine.com]

    • by hort_wort (1401963) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @10:03AM (#35542046)

      Heh, this reminds me of when Mars came close back in `03.
      http://www.v-r-a.org/ppp/Mars/Mars.htm [v-r-a.org]

      Folks quickly started misquoting the prediction and saying that Mars would appear larger than the full moon to the naked eye. Websites started yelling at the space programs of the world to launch rockets, wanting to put men on Mars "while it was closer than the moon".

      People believe anything these days.... Would anyone like to buy some anti-radiation pills? Only $800 a box.

    • by bunratty (545641)
      What about the summary was incorrect?
      • by thomasdz (178114)

        What about the summary was incorrect?

        Specifically? That it's anything "Super". it's going to be quite ordinary...just a little bigger. when I use the adjective "super", I mean something extraordinary.

        • by bunratty (545641) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @10:43AM (#35542234)
          But it is called a supermoon [wikipedia.org], by definition. Perhaps the name is misleading to those who don't know what it is. There will certainly be a supermoon tonight.
          • by thomasdz (178114)

            Alright bunratty... you win... THIS time
            (Thomas skulks off to his volcano hideaway)

          • Quote from wiki: "The name SuperMoon was coined by astrologer..."

            aaand that's about as far as I need to read.

            It's 14% larger than its smallest possible size. 1.4% larger than it was last month. There is absolutely nothing 'super' about this. You won't be able to tell the difference without a measuring device.
            • by Gordonjcp (186804)

              I particularly like the "debunking" of the natural disasters, which amounts to "It can't be related to the supermoon since both tsunamis were when the moon was at apogee". Okay, then is it possible that something bad happens geologically when there is an apogee-syzygy?

    • Yeah, the last time this happened was as recently as 2008, according to the article. The moon was five miles closer than it will be today.

      It appears this event happens every 3 years of so. Not that big a deal. Astronomy is fun but I like my boss's attitude, when he goes telescope-gazing: "My neighbor's wife walks around naked and never closes the curtains. That's where the real show is at." ;-)

    • by watermark (913726)
      OP here. May I offer my formal "Whoopsies."
    • Does anybody research these things?? It's not that THAT unusual. Slashdot is turning into Digg. Do a Google search on "supermoon hype" and read the links!

      Arrrggghhh

      Practice what you preach perhaps? http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/16mar_supermoon/ [nasa.gov]

    • by sjames (1099)

      Let's be more specific. It is absolutely true that the moon is (nearly) full at perigee. It is absolutely true that that doesn't happen every day. It is true that it may appear a bit larger (just a bit, most wouldn't notice without news hype).

      All the other gloom, doom, and significant annoyances being warned about are complete bunk.

      It's much more a geek thing (like pi day) than anything else which is why it DOES belong on /. As was pointed out at the bottom of the Bad Astronomy write-up:

      But I’ll add that the Moon will actually be a bit closer than usual, and while you might not notice the size or brightness difference by eye, the full Moon is always a lovely and compelling sight in the sky. So I urge everyone to go out and take a look. And while you’re looking think on this: a dozen men have walked on the Moon, dozens of probes have been sent there, and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is still snapping away, mapping our friendly satellite and taking dazzling images of its surface.

      So there you go. Ha

    • I don't get what it means when something turns into digg.

  • I was reading this in the newspaper a few days ago and it really does look bigger. Almost as if it might crash into us.

    So the moon spins around us in an ellipsis, where it's closest to us at perigee and furthest at apogee. Apparently it's blamed for the tsunami [dailymail.co.uk].

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by improfane (855034) *

      Apparently I meant farthest.

    • Re:Crash (Score:5, Funny)

      by Dogtanian (588974) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @09:57AM (#35542014) Homepage

      So the moon spins around us in an ellipsis, where it's closest to us at perigee and furthest at apogee. Apparently it's blamed for the tsunami [dailymail.co.uk]

      Well, if it's in the Daily Mail it *must* be true...

      Actually, I'm not convinced that's the real Daily Mail. If it was, it would mention that the Japanese earthquake was caused by illegal benefit-scrounging immigrants to the UK, and that it stands a real chance of affecting house prices here. Oh yeah, and that we're all going to die from the 0.5cm-high remainder of the tsunami when it hits the UK and the only solution is this week's wonder food that'll let us all live to 179.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by theBully (1056930)
        You are waaaay off. The Japanese earthquake as well as the Haitian earthquake are all caused by the LHC to set in motion the end of the world in 2012 when the LHC will finally give birth to a black hole as well as a planet and a wormhole which will hit the earth and change it's direction of rotation. East will become sunset and nobody will survive except a U.S. family (obviously from L.A.). This family will also stop the attack of the invading aliens pouring through the wormhole. It's all out there. Just re
    • Re:Crash (Score:5, Funny)

      by PseudonymousBraveguy (1857734) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @10:25AM (#35542134)

      Apparently it's blamed for the tsunami [dailymail.co.uk].

      Yeah, and everyone was blaming it on the earthquake. But it was the moon all along! And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for that meddling kids!

    • by Peil (549875)

      Did you even read the article you linked to?

      The author says the idea has been debunked, and even explains hoe a tsunmai is formed.

      Nice rant, but for once, the Mail gets this one right

    • by ChrisDolan (24101)

      Minor nit: you mean "ellipse", not "ellipsis". An ellipsis is three dots used as punctuation like this...

      But I disagree that it will look "if it might crash into us". It will be reportedly 14% larger than it's smallest appearance (http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2011/03/what_the_hell_is_a_supermoon.php), or I'd guess about 7% larger than normal. Not sure if that's areal size or diameter. Most people probably won't be able to tell the difference.

      • by improfane (855034) *

        Woops.

        I do that all the time with homophones.

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        An ellipsis is three dots used as punctuation like this...

        That wasn't an ellipsis, that was three periods. An ellipsis is this: â¦

        (option-; on a Mac, though option-period would have made more sense.)

    • by PPH (736903)

      Apparently it's blamed for the tsunami.

      Not likely. The tsunami (actually, the quake that caused it) occurred just over a week ago. The moon was nowhere near perigee then.

    • Apparently it's blamed for the tsunami [dailymail.co.uk].

      No it's not. I'm no fan of the Mail, but the headline "Did tonight's super moon cause Japan's tsunami?" leads to "And yet there is not a shred of evidence to support this."

  • I'm kind of ashamed to be posting that meme, but at last it's somewhat appropriate.

    • I'm kind of ashamed to be posting that meme, but at last it's somewhat appropriate.

      Well, if that is a space ship, we're doomed.

      • by gblues (90260)

        I did the calculations, and the volume of New Jerusalem that is described as descending to Earth toward the end of Revelation is roughly half the volume of the moon. Thus the "moon turning to blood" earlier in Revelation is, in fact, New Jerusalem breaking out of its lunar shell and beginning its descent through the atmosphere.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2011 @10:22AM (#35542120)

    ... and pointed at my sexy neighbor's window while everyone is distracted by the SuperMoon

  • by delmierda (1220360) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @10:32AM (#35542174)
    From Neil DeGrasse Tyson's Facebook post (http://www.facebook.com/#!/neiltyson): "SuperMoons? A hoax spread by the under-educated on the under-informed claiming the Moon causes quakes. Saturday's full Moon is also closest to Earth in its oval orbit. Perigee happens once per month. Full Moon+Perigee coincide every 2 or 3 years. Last one: Dec 2008. Size? Saturday's moon is 7% larger than average. The difference between a 15 & 14-inch pizza. You are now better informed than the Press."
    • by sznupi (719324)

      The difference between a 15 & 14-inch pizza.

      A difference dwarfed by Moon illusion, twice a day... (if the sky is clear close to moonrise and moonset)

      Even better: via binoculars, DSLR with appropriate lens, or a telescope.

    • A supermoon occurs when the moon goes on a bender and accidentally puts on it's underwear on the outside.

      It's been raining where I live so no supermoon. I did get to see the moon through clouds one night before and showed it to my 2 yr old son. I knew what Neil had written beforehand so I don't think I've missed anything but it still would have been a nice excuse to gaze up if the clouds weren't lousy!.

  • by xmas2003 (739875) * on Saturday March 19, 2011 @10:42AM (#35542230) Homepage
    Here's a time-lapse of the Moonset setting over the Colorado Rockies in early/2010 [komar.org]

    I may venture out at O-dark-30 to shoot it again this year to see if it truly looks any bigger.
  • I think seeing a slightly larger, brighter moon will be nifty. "Extreme supermoon" may be selling it a bit much, but I'm looking forward to having a look tonight.
  • That was either
    1) a typo
    2) bad math

    Option 1 is the less embarrassing one..

  • It's raining. I'll wait until next time.
  • It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Superman flying upside down with his pants down!
  • Every 28 years, it gets to eat for 28 days?

  • I'll actually be seeing clouds ... forecast says no supermoon for us, just rain and more rain.
  • The moon has been up there for 8 hours already here in Thailand.. I guess it did look kinda biggish. How much (%) is the difference of the full moon between now and a month (or a year) ago, I'd like to know if my big moon sighting was confirmation bias or is it really noticeable difference.
  • The moon did not appear any bigger in the sky, but I do recall that the night was VERY bright. I could see better then than I tend to be able to right after dusk most days (we live in a steep canyon). I could see all the surrounding terrain and all the way down my street that has heavy tree coverage. It was pretty cool. Today, however, we have clouds and rain. :(
  • Whenever there is anything remotely interesting happening in the heavens.
  • We're socked in with a huge rainstorm; we won't see the Moon for at least a week and a half, damnit.
  • I woke up to the sound of a hailstorm at 3 or 4 AM. I went back to get some sleep, rolled over at 5 AM and the Moon was out. It just happened to be in the right position to be right in my eye. It was indeed very bright. I thought it might be twilight combined with the Moon, but I don't think we are having twilight at 5 AM yet.

    I ended up sleeping in until 10:30.

  • by lennier1 (264730)

    So, it's that bowl of chili and not the scary supermoon that's giving me gas?

  • Everyone seems to be talking about the physical effects the moon will exhibit, yet no one is talking about the effects on that quirky body of water, the human being. Last night at the local pizza joint it was packed and crazy. Tonight, the night of the full moon, how much crazier can it get?
    note to self: stay outta the bars.
  • by peter303 (12292) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @03:11PM (#35543938)
    It was based on a germ of truth: Mars was to be the closest to earth and brightest in a century a couple of Augusts ago. But by the time it got garbled in the New Age Media, some people expected Mars to be bigger than the Moon and a sign of the apocalypse. And for some reason this idea gets revived every August now.
  • It's going to be a cloudy night, so no moon for me.

    That's okay; it was nearly full last night and I got some great photos of it.
    • by lxs (131946)

      I'm looking at it now.
      It looks suspiciously like every other full moon.

  • Will it be blue with a red cape?
  • A picture of what it amounts to in size difference here:

    http://sattrackcam.blogspot.com/2011/03/march-19-2011-super-full-moon.html [blogspot.com]

    Both images were taken with the same lens, on during an "average" size full moon, the other yesterday. While indeed notably bigger yesterday in comparison, it really isn't that impressive in absolute terms...

    By the way, contrary to the opening lines of the Topic Poster, it is about once each 18 years, not 28 years.
    • by Dr La (1342733)

      By the way, contrary to the opening lines of the Topic Poster, it is about once each 18 years, not 28 years.

      ...or in fact even more often (I was mixing two things up in my mind): every few years or so.

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