Supermoon – March 19, 2011

(from our friends at OMSI)
March 19 – March’s Full Moon, or the “Supermoon”

March’s full moon will take place on Friday, March 19 at 11:10 a.m. As temperatures warm and the ground thaws, earthworm castings appear, heralding the return of robins. Thus, March’s moon is called the Worm Moon. This full moon will also be at perigee, or its closest distance to earth. Lunar Perigee occurs when the Moon’s orbit reaches its point to the Earth. In contrast, Lunar Apogee occurs when the Moon’s orbit is at its furthest distance from Earth. Generally, the Moon looks about 14% larger at perigee compared to its apogee. When we look at the full moon on Friday, it will be just 221,567 miles away making it the closest in 18 years.

Many are calling this full moon the “Supermoon,” blaming it for dramatic land and ocean tides which trigger earthquakes. The tides are greatest during full and new moons, when the sun and moon are aligned either on the same or opposite sides of the Earth. A very small correlation exists between full or new moons and seismic activity, because the stronger tidal forces caused by the alignment of the sun and moon puts added stress on tectonic plates. However, seismologists have found no evidence connecting lunar perigees to heightened seismic activity. Instead, the Earth constantly stores up energy and releases it anytime the built-up energy becomes too great.

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