Contacts: Samantha Wilkinson, (207) 371-2303n
Jeanne Curran, (207) 287-3156
Super Moon Watch to be held at Reid State Park
(March 14, 2011)
AUGUSTA, Maine -- Ever get the feeling something is sneaking up on you?
Well, it is. And it’s big and yellow, and it’s been gaining on us all for several months now. No cause for alarm though, it’s just our friend the moon going on about its usual, predictable business -- or at least that’s what the scientists say.
The full moon this month will be closer to the earth than it has been in nearly 20 years. Since the moon’s orbit is elliptical, its distance from the earth is not constant; some full moons are closer to us, some are farther away. The unusually close ones are called “super moons,” and this one qualifies easily.
The moon hasn’t been this close since 1992, so if weather conditions cooperate, when it rises at 7:13 p.m. on Saturday, March 19, it will appear up to 16 percent bigger and significantly brighter than other full moons in recent history, treating earth to a bit of drama in the night sky.
Some say super moons are tied to more than just a well-lit sky, pointing to correlations between extreme moons and the occurrence of epic natural disasters on earth. There was a super moon in 1955, for example, when Australia experienced devastating floods. Another, smaller one coincided with the Indonesian earthquake and tsunami the day after Christmas in 2005 … and now, of course, there’s Japan.
Astronomers, meteorologists, and virtually all of mainstream science, however, are united: There is absolutely no scientific basis on which to draw such conclusions. Any relationship between super moons and catastrophes, such as floods, earthquakes, and tsunamis, most scientists stress, is purely coincidental.
For astronomers, astrologers, and those of us who simply look up to the sky and just wonder about things, the shores of Reid State Park provide an unparalleled viewing arena.
So, weather permitting, Park Manager Samantha Wilkinson is happy to extend the normal operating hours on Saturday, March 19, in order to share her front row seat with park visitors for this unique after-dark event.
Super Moon Watch, 7-9 p.m., Saturday, March 19, Reid State Park, Georgetown.
Those interested in joining Wilkinson for a super-moonlight beach walk should plan to arrive by 7 p.m.; night time activity will be limited to Griffith Head and Mile Beach only, and regular admission fees will apply. The park will close promptly at 9 p.m.
For more information and up-to-date weather conditions, please call Reid State Park directly, (207) 371-2303. ###