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A Babe in the Universe

Supermoon Tonight

20 Mar 2011, 04:18 UTC
Supermoon Tonight
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The view from my lanai. Everyone look at the Moon tonight! As with the planets, the Moon orbits in an ellipse. Tonight's full Moon coincides with perigee in the lunar orbit, leading to a "supermoon." The Moon will appear larger than ever before. One moon ago February 21 this paper appeared from Lorenzo Lorio:On the anomalous secular increase of the eccentricity of the orbit of the Moon The eccentricity of an ellipse measures its departure from a circle. According to Lorio, the Moon's eccentricity has increased at an anomalous rate. He is generous enough to examine a variety of possible causes, from General Relativity's Lense-Thirring effect to an undiscovered planet. If this effect is confirmed, it adds to a number of anomalies in solar system orbits.Anomalies in orbits can have great significance. Mercury's elliptical orbit precesses at 5600 arcseconds per century, but a discrepancy of only 43 arcsec/century was enough to prove General Relativity. Readers of this blog know that the Moon is receding from Earth 1/3 faster than geology says. The anomaly may be predicted even more precisely than Mercury's precession! If you are in Dallas, Texas for the American Physical Society meeting next week, you might enjoy this ...

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