NASRDA allays fears over ‘supermoon’

Posted by News Express | 14 November 2016 | 2,436 times

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The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) says ‘supermoon’ that will be witnessed in some parts of the earth on Monday night has not much significance on the planet.

Mr Benjamin Ayantunji, the Chief Scientist, NASRDA, said this on Monday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Supermoon phenomenon is a non-technical term for a moon that turns full at the same time it hits perigee – the point on its orbit when it is closest to earth.

The moon’s path around earth planet is shaped more like an oval than a circle, so there are times when it is closer to earth (perigee) and times when it is farther away (apogee).

Experts say the same kind of supermoon experience after Monday night will appear again in November, 2034 in some places around the world.

According to Ayantunji, supermoon happens when the moon is closer to the earth than usual.

“Basically, there is no significant effect of supermoon, but one thing about it is that it is closer to the earth than usual.

“The orbit of the moon round the earth is spherical; it is not a complete circle, sometimes appears closer than the other times and farther other times.

“When it is closer to the earth, at its closest point, we have a full moon at that point we have a bigger moon than the usual.

“For instance, if you looked at the moon yesterday (Sunday night), toward 8 p.m., it appeared very bright and big; that is how it will be till the end of this period and that is what we call supermoon.”

The chief scientist added: “The force of attraction between the earth and the moon and this force decreases as the distance between them increases.

“This force is called ‘diffusional pull, that is it becomes higher when you have supermoon, in places where you have oceans, like the Atlantic Ocean, you experience higher tides than usual.” “Watch the moon tonight between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., the size becomes bigger; this size will continue to grow big until we have a full moon. It will keep increasing. Apart from the high tides, there is no other significant effect.”

Mr Adeleye Talabi, the Director Technology Acquisition and Adaptation (TAA), Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, assured that there was nothing to panic about on sighting the supermoon.

He described the supermoon as a new or full moon that occurs at roughly the same time the moon is nearest the earth in its monthly orbit.

“Some might think that the supermoon has some kind of effect on people on earth. But does it really? I think, the effect cannot be so harmful on human.”

According to him, “a supermoon’s pull of gravity creates higher-than-usual tides.

“But gravity doesn’t affect a human body as much as it does an ocean tide.

“We are coming up on the closest “super moon’’ since 1948 today (Nov. 14), 2016.

“What makes this month’s supermoon extra special is the fact that it will be the closest to earth since January 1948.

“The moon’s average distance from Earth is about 240,000 miles, but Monday’s supermoon will be a mere 227,000 miles away.

“It may not sound like much, but the relative proximity will result in a moon that could appear as much as 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter than a typical full moon.”

•Photo shows supermoon

Source: News Express

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