Rare full ‘supermoon’ spellbounds Lahoris
By Arsalan Haider
LAHORE: The city observed the biggest and brightest full moon of the year 2012 on Saturday night as it came closest to Earth.
Lahoris enjoyed the natural phenomenon, as the moon has always been a symbol of love, acknowledged by the literary circles, including poets, novelists and writers.
While finding it the best opportunity to get rid of their tensions and to have relief from their busy schedule, the citizens made this day special and unforgettable for them by visiting open places and parks to get a better view.
A number of people witnessed Saturday night’s ‘supermoon’, which was bigger and brighter than usual, with their friends, family members and loved ones. People were also seen looking at and praising the Earth’s natural satellite on the rooftops of their houses and businesses, as well as in parks and near the Ravi. “The shining moon today forced me and my wife to visit the bank of the Ravi, as we can get a clear view of the ‘supermoon’ from here,” said Noman, a local.
A youngster, Haider, said, “This day holds is more unique than any of the 14th of lunar calendar.” He credited the media for informing people about the rare phenomenon. Last night’s moon came closer to Earth at a distance of 221,802 miles, which was about 15,300 miles closer than it usually comes. This near, the moon is 14 percent bigger than it would if it were at its farthest distance from the Earth, and its brightness was 30 percent higher than usual.
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), ‘supermoon’ is a situation when the moon is slightly closer to Earth than it normally is, and this effect is most noticeable when it occurs at the same time as a full moon.
So, the moon may seem bigger, although the difference in its distance from Earth is only a few percent at such times.
There are several superstitions and rumours about such occurrence, as the supermoons of 1955, 1974, 1992, 2005 and 2011 were followed by extreme weather and natural disasters. From extreme coastal tides to severe storms, powerful earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the entire natural world surges under the sway of the ‘supermoon’ alignment. Adding to these fears is the fact that the 2005 ‘supermoon’ was followed, within days, by a 9.2 magnitude earthquake in Indonesia that took hundreds of thousands of lives.
Last year, just nine days before another ‘supermoon’, came the Japanese earthquake, killing thousands of people and triggering a horrific tsunami. It is said to be the fifth largest earthquake ever recorded in living memory.
Talking to Daily Times, Punjab University Department of Space Sciences Chairman Dr Muhammad Ali said that ‘supermoon’ occurrence is regular feature of moon’s elliptical orbit around Earth, as the moon has to come closer to Earth after a specific period of time. He said that this was not the first full ‘supermoon’.
About disasters, he noted that during the full moon, tides are usually high than on other days, but during ‘supermoon’, there were chances of even higher tides, but not tsunami or any other disaster, as they were usually caused by earthquakes.