The “SuperMoon” phenominon was made popular by a professional astrologer, consequently it’s not taken very seriously. AccuWeather ran an interesting piece on the theory that explains the basics and points out that if it’s true, we’ll know in about a week and a half:
Coming up later this month (March 19 to be exact) the moon will make its closest approach to Earth (called lunar perigee) in 18 years. A new or full moon at 90% or greater of its closest perigee to Earth has been named a “SuperMoon” by astrologer Richard Nolle. This term has been recently picked up by astronomers. An extreme “SuperMoon” is when the moon is full or new as well as at its 100% greater mean perigee (closest) distance to earth. By this definition, last month’s full moon, this month’s and next month’s will all be extreme “SuperMoons”.
I have read several “new age” forecasts that go something like this: “Extreme SuperMoon this month (March 2011) will bring strong earthquakes and storms and/or unusual climate patterns.” Google the term ‘extreme SuperMoon March 2011’ and see for yourself what comes up. The validity of these types of forecasts can be debated ad nauseum.
There were SuperMoons in 1955, 1974, 1992 and 2005. These years had their share of extreme weather and other natural events. Is the Super Moon and these natural occurences a coincidence? Some would say yes; some would say no. I’m not here to pick sides and say I’m a believer or non-believer in subjects like this, but as a scientist I know enough to ask questions and try to find answers.
We obviously know that there are scientific laws that say the moon affects the Earth (i.e. tides). There are also less proven theories that propose that the moon affects the Earth in other ways (i.e. abnormal behavior during a full moon). Can the Super (full) Moon contribute to extreme weather and other natural phenomenon?
AccuWeather Facebook fanpage member Daniel Vogler adds, “The last extreme super moon occurred was on January 10th, 2005, right around the time of the 9.0 Indonesia earthquake. That extreme super moon was a new moon. So be forewarned. Something BIG could happen on or around this date. (+/- 3 Days is my guess)”
I too am agnostic on this. I don’t discount the ability of the moon to cause disturbances on Earth but I am also aware of the, shall we say loose standards, that the professional astrology profession has for admission. I say this as a practicing neo-Pagan by the way.
Robert Noell’s website is here. Judging from the design and hosting options I’m going to guess his business isn’t good.
Noell’s theory is interesting however. And as Gothamist points out SuperMoons do coincide with some pretty major disasters:
Some believe that a bad moon is indeed on the rise: the New England hurricane of 1938 and the Hunter Valley floods of 1955 both happened during lunar perigees. And Cyclone Tracy in 1974 and Hurricance Katrina in 2005 also coincided, or came very close to coinciding, with SuperMoons.
For those of us that believe the moon can exert influence over people’s behavior (we used to be called superstitious, now we’re “open minded”) it’s interesting to note that as the moon enters this phase there’s been a sharp rise in civil unrest in the middle east and America. A liberal threatened to blow up a building Scott Walker was in and union goons actually tried to attack Republican lawmakers at lunch.
I’m not saying that there is or isn’t any truth to “Moonagheddon” but if there is be prepared not just for disasters but panic on the streets and more civil unrest. If you prep and you’re wrong what’s the big deal?