Tuesday, 27 September 2011
"Dark" Supermoon Tomorrow: New Moon Gets Closest to Earth
Lunar encounter to have only minor gravity effects, expert says.
Photograph by Michael Melford, National Geographic
Published September 26, 2011
Because the moon's orbit is egg shaped, there are times in the roughly monthlong lunar cycle when the moon is at perigee—its closest distance to Earth—or at apogee, its farthest distance from Earth.
"A supermoon occurs when the moon is at perigee and it's in either a full or new phase," said Raminder Singh Samra, an astronomer at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, Canada.
A new moon happens when the lunar orb positions itself between Earth and the sun, so that the side of the moon that faces Earth is unlighted.
"The upcoming moon on September 27, 2011, is set to be at perigee and at the new phase," Samra said, "so we won't be able to witness the event, as the moon and sun will be in the same region of the sky" and the lunar disk will be entirely dark.
Supermoon to Affect Earth's Tides?
Because the size of the moon's orbit also varies slightly, each perigee is not always the same distance from Earth.
When at perigee, the moon is about 18,640 miles (30,000 kilometers) closer to Earth than its average distance of roughly 240,000 miles (385,000 kilometers). When perigee occurs during a full moon, the lunar disk can appear about 14 percent bigger in the sky, Samra said.
Tuesday's dark supermoon will be just 222,175 miles (357,557 kilometers) away from Earth.
But the truth is that there's only a very small correlation between full or new moons and seismic stresses, said Jim Todd, planetarium manager at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
"Stronger tidal forces caused by the alignment of the sun and moon may put added stress on tectonic plates," Todd said.
"However, seismologists have found no evidence connecting lunar perigees to heightened seismic activity. Instead the Earth constantly stores up energy and releases it any time the built-up energy becomes too great."
Lunar close encounters are well known to cause slightly higher ocean tides, so any localized flooding during a supermoon would be most noticeable around beaches and other low-lying areas.
Casebooks Of Early Astrologers Published Online | History Today
In the September issue of History Today, Dr Lauren Kassell explores the work of Simon Forman, a 16th century astrologer who left a copious amount of casebooks behind. These casebooks, along with those of Forman's protege, Richard Napier, are in the process of being published online by the University of Cambridge and the Bodleain Libraries in Oxford.
In the days before a quick visit to the local GP was the answer to a particular ailment, astrologers performed much the same service, albeit with slightly less success in their diagnoses. Both Forman and Napier were unusually diligent in recording their findings. Each would note down the patient's name, the question put to them, and the start time of the consultation. From this they would then construct an astrological chart, using the positions of the sun, the moon and the five planets known at the time; they would then use the chart to ascertain the effect of the celestial bodies on their patients.
As the authors of the Casebook Project note, the material, which was written between 1596 and 1634 and contains over 50,000 documents, is "probably the richest surviving set of medical records from the period before 1700".
In contrast to the often spurious predictions offered by astrology in modern times, the questions posed to Napier and Forman were predominantly about medical problems. One example shows Forman's formulation for calculating which of a particular married couple will live longer:
Mary & Jhone being man & wife which shall die first. Mary the number of her letters are 4 & the number of the letters of Jhone are 5 & Jhone is the elder & she was a mayd & he a bacheler & neyther of them was contracted to any other before, & the number of boath of the names being added togeather make 9 then because Jhone is the elder I begin with Jhone & say Jhone mary Jhone mary 9 times & the number doth end on Jhone. Therfore dico quod Jhoanna prius morietur.
To date only a small number have been published; the difficulty of reading some of the handwriting, and the often complex nomenclature used in the observations, has made a lengthy task of transcribing them. Yet it's clear that, once complete, the it will be of immense interest to historians and to those interested in the early modern period.
Sunday, 25 September 2011
Thursday, 22 September 2011
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
Friday, 2 September 2011
|A Walk in the Wood on a Sunny Afternoon... by me|
In-between past and future there is the edge of the present. It rests between the regrets of the past and the uncertainty of the unknown future. Here in the present there is an non-specific certainty that wields Truth as the hammer at the forge and Life its fire. Certainty is not in knowing how the torc will take shape but in knowing Wisdom is our Gold (via Druid's Path /|\)