Archive for the ‘moon’ Category

2015 Gulf of Carpentaria mangrove die-off, from space [image credit: NASA]

Even the type of local tides was involved. Researchers conclude: we can chalk the 2015 mass death up to “natural causes.”
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Over the summer of 2015, 40 million mangroves died of thirst, says

This vast die-off—the world’s largest ever recorded—killed off rich mangrove forests along fully 1,000 kilometers of coastline on Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria.

The question is, why? Last month, scientists found a culprit: a strong El Niño event, which led to a temporary fall in sea level.

That left mangroves, which rely on tides covering their roots, high and dry during an unusually dry early monsoon season.

Case closed. Or is it?


Image credit:

Not exactly a new idea, but worth pursuing. Given the present feverish pursuit of supposedly climate-related policies that attempt to counter imagined human-caused effects, all known aspects of natural variation must be highlighted and included in models.
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New analysis suggests that the Moon might be an unappreciated factor in climate change and, according to researchers from the Universities of East Anglia and Reading, its influence “cannot be discounted as an important driver of multidecadal variability of global temperature.”

It’s a suggestion that is bound to prompt debate and a possible reassessment of the relative influence of human factors on climate change in the past and the future when the lunar effect is included, says Dr. David Whitehouse @ Net Zero Watch.

It arises from the so-called lunar nodal cycle of 18.6 years caused by variations in the angle of the Moon’s orbital plane. During this period the Moon’s orbit “wobbles” between plus or minus 5 degrees relative to the Earth’s equator.


Credit: NASA

Compensating for the lost time may prove challenging for scientists, says Astronomy magazine. Turning the internet clock back one second implies a repeat of a computer-generated timestamp for example, which might confuse some vital systems not designed to handle that.
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Ever feel like there’s just not enough time in the day? Turns out, you might be onto something.

Earth is rotating faster than it has in the last half-century, resulting in our days being ever-so-slightly shorter than we’re used to.



Plate tectonics has always been good for a science controversy or two. This one throws some solar-planetary spice into the mix, putting a focus on the Earth-Moon barycentre.
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A study led by geophysicist Anne M. Hofmeister in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis proposes that imbalanced forces and torques in the Earth-moon-sun system drive circulation of the whole mantle, says

The new analysis provides an alternative to the hypothesis that the movement of tectonic plates is related to convection currents in the Earth’s mantle.

Convection involves buoyant rise of heated fluids, which Hofmeister and her colleagues argue does not apply to solid rocks.

They argue that force, not heat, moves large objects.


November 19, 2021 lunar eclipse [credit: NASA]

For UK observers the best time to look will be about 7-8:00 am Friday morning (19th Nov.) depending on location, e.g. Manchester. [Click on image to enlarge the eclipse map]
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You can see the longest partial lunar eclipse in hundreds of years this week.

The “nearly total” lunar eclipse is expected overnight Thursday, Nov. 18, to Friday, Nov. 19, NASA said.

“The Moon will be so close to opposite the Sun on Nov 19 that it will pass through the southern part of the shadow of the Earth for a nearly total lunar eclipse,” NASA said on its website.

The eclipse will last 3 hours, 28 minutes and 23 seconds, making it the longest in centuries, reported.

Only a small sliver of the moon will be visible during the eclipse. About 97% of the moon will disappear into Earth’s shadow as the sun and moon pass opposite sides of the planet, EarthSky reported.

The moon should appear to be a reddish-brown color as it slips into the shadow, NASA reported.

Full article here.
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More from — Moon lighting: partial lunar eclipse to be longest since 1440

A year after I wrote the original ‘Why Phi’ post explaining my discovery of the Fibonacci sequence links between solar system orbits and planetary synodic periods here at the Talkshop in 2013, my time and effort got diverted into politics. The majority of ongoing research into this important topic has been furthered by my co-blogger Stuart ‘Oldbrew’ Graham. Over the last eight years he has published many articles here using the ‘Why Phi’ tag looking at various subsystems of planetary and solar interaction periodicities, resonances, and their relationships with well known climatic periodicities such as the De Vries, Hallstatt, Hale and Jose cycles, as well as exoplanetary systems exhibiting the same Fibonacci-resonant arrangements.

Recently, Stuart contacted me with news of a major breakthrough in his investigations. In the space of a few hours spent making his calculator hot, major pieces of the giant jigsaw had all come together and brought ‘the big picture’ into focus. In fact, so much progress has been made that we’re not going to try to put it all into a single post. Instead, we’ll provide an overview here, and follow it up with further articles getting into greater detail.




Anything supposedly ‘rapidly increasing’ or ‘extreme’ in Earth’s climate now or in the near future has to be treated with some suspicion, to say the least. Experience tells us alarmists armed with assumptions don’t need much excuse to go off the deep end to try and stir up the populace.
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In the mid-2030s, every U.S. coast will experience rapidly increasing high-tide floods, when a lunar cycle will amplify rising sea levels caused by climate change, predicts

High-tide floods—also called nuisance floods or sunny day floods—are already a familiar problem in many cities on the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported a total of more than 600 such floods in 2019.

Starting in the mid-2030s, however, the alignment of rising sea levels with a lunar cycle will cause coastal cities all around the U.S. to begin a decade of dramatic increases in flood numbers, according to the first study that takes into account all known oceanic and astronomical causes for floods.

Led by the members of the NASA Sea Level Change Science Team from the University of Hawaii, the new study shows that high tides will exceed known flooding thresholds around the country more often.



The Moon in front of Earth [credit: NASA]

A recurring pattern over the period of the Sun’s 22~year Hale cycle (two magnetic polarity reversals) seems to have emerged. One outcome is said to be ‘a higher likelihood of severe space weather late in the current solar cycle between 2026 and 2030.’
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Planned missions to return humans to the Moon need to hurry up to avoid hitting one of the busiest periods for extreme space weather, according to scientists conducting the most in-depth ever look at solar storm timing.

Scientists at the University of Reading studied 150 years of space weather data to investigate patterns in the timing of the most extreme events, which can be extremely dangerous to astronauts and satellites, and even disrupt power grids if they arrive at Earth, says

The researchers found for the first time that extreme space weather events are more likely to occur early in even-numbered solar cycles, and late in odd-numbered cycles—such as the one just starting.


A New Form of Space Weather: Earth Wind

Posted: February 12, 2021 by oldbrew in moon, solar system dynamics, wind

A water creation surprise here.

Feb. 12, 2021: The sun is windy. Every day, 24/7, a breeze of electrified gas blows away from the sun faster than a million mph. Solar wind sparks beautiful auroras around the poles of Earth, sculpts the tails of comets, and scours the surface of the Moon.

Would you believe, Earth is windy, too? Our own planet produces a breeze of electrified gas. It’s like the solar wind, only different, and it may have important implications for space weather on the Moon.

“Earth wind” comes from the axes of our planet. Every day, 24/7, fountains of gas shoot into space from the poles. The leakage is tiny compared to Earth’s total atmosphere, but it is enough to fill the magnetosphere with a riot of rapidly blowing charged particles. Ingredients include ionized hydrogen, helium, oxygen and nitrogen.

Once a month, the Moon gets hit by a blast of Earth wind. It…

View original post 408 more words

The Canterbury Swarm and the Taurids

Posted: December 10, 2020 by tallbloke in Astrophysics, Celestial Mechanics, moon

John Michael Godier: An exploration of the concept of the Canterbury meteor swarm and its links to the annual Taurid meteor shower and how these sometimes produce very large impacts on the moon and earth.


The orbit of Triton (red) is opposite in direction and tilted −23° compared to a typical moon’s orbit (green) in the plane of Neptune’s equator [image credit: Wikipedia]

Triton orbits the ‘wrong’ way round Neptune, is far larger than all the other Neptunian moons, and has a high tilt angle, among other peculiar traits. In short, it has some explaining to do.
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When NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft flew by Neptune’s strange moon Triton three decades ago, it wrote a planetary science cliffhanger, says

Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft ever to have flown past Neptune, and it left a lot of unanswered questions.

The views were as stunning as they were puzzling, revealing massive, dark plumes of icy material spraying out from Triton‘s surface. But how?

Images showed that the icy landscape was young and had been resurfaced over and over with fresh material. But what material, and from where?

How could an ancient moon six times farther from the Sun than Jupiter still be active? Is there something in its interior that is still warm enough to drive this activity?


Credit: NASA

The idea is to validate Belgian astronomer Willy de Rop’s 1971 calculations, which can be found here.

From our 2016 post discussing his paper, De Rop’s long-term lunar cycle:

De Rop’s basic premise is that there’s a correlation between the so-called ‘lunar wobble’ period and the anomalistic year.
His paper contains a geometric proof, and the final numbers are:
300 lunar wobbles in 1799 anomalistic years (the lunar wobble is known to repeat in just under 6 years).

To see what the lunar wobble is, refer to the paper. Essentially it’s when the number of lunar apsidal and nodal cycles in the period sums to 1. For more information, please refer to that post.


Image credit:

We’re told: ‘They refer to what they’ve found as ANTS, for Active Nearside Tectonic System’, which is ‘a mysterious system of tectonic features (ridges and faults) on the lunar nearside, unrelated to both lava-filled basins and other young faults that crisscross the highlands.’ Tectonic activity on one side only sounds a bit unlikely somehow, but what about tidal disturbance from Earth? We know it works the other way round: the Moon causes tides on Earth. Of course the Moon is tidally locked to Earth, hence the term ‘nearside’.
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Researchers have discovered a system of ridges spread across the nearside of the Moon topped with freshly exposed boulders, reports

The ridges could be evidence of active lunar tectonic processes, the researchers say, possibly the echo of a long-ago impact that nearly tore the Moon apart.

“There’s this assumption that the Moon is long dead, but we keep finding that that’s not the case,” said Peter Schultz, a professor in Brown University’s Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences and co-author of the research, which is published in the journal Geology.

“From this paper it appears that the Moon may still be creaking and cracking—potentially in the present day—and we can see the evidence on these ridges.”


The Saros cycle by numbers

Posted: April 14, 2020 by oldbrew in Analysis, Cycles, data, moon

The basis for discussion is the abstract of the paper below. Instead of their ‘high-integer near commensurabilities among lunar months’ we’ll just say ‘numbers’ and try to make everything as straightforward as possible. This will expand on a previous Talkshop post on much the same topic.

Hunting for Periodic Orbits Close to that of the Moon in the Restricted Circular Three-Body Problem (1995)
Authors: G. B. Valsecchi, E. PerozziA, E. Roy, A. Steves

The role of high-integer near commensurabilities among lunar months — like the long known Saros cycle — in the dynamics of the Moon has been examined in previous papers (Perozzi et al., 1991; Roy et al., 1991; Steves et al., 1993). A by-product of this study has been the discovery that the lunar orbit is very close to a set of 8 long-period periodic orbits of the restricted circular 3-dimensional Sun-Earth-Moon problem in which also the secular motion of the argument of perigee ω is involved (Valsecchi et al., 1993a). In each of these periodic orbits 223 synodic months are equal to 239 anomalistic and 242 nodical ones, a relationship that approximately holds in the case of the observed Saros cycle, and the various orbits differ from each other for the initial phases. Note that these integer ratios imply that, in one cycle of the periodic orbit, the argument of perigee ω makes exactly 3 revolutions, i.e. the difference between the 242 nodical and the 239 anomalistic months (these two months differ from each other just for the prograde rotation of ω).
[bold added]

To start with we can create a model that pretends the ‘high-integer near commensurabilities’ really are whole numbers, then break down the logic of the result to see what’s going in with the Moon at the period of one Saros cycle.


Encylopaedia Britannica on the Metonic cycle:

Metonic cycle, in chronology, a period of 19 years in which there are 235 lunations, or synodic months, after which the Moon’s phases recur on the same days of the solar year, or year of the seasons. The cycle was discovered by Meton (fl. 432 bc), an Athenian astronomer.

Calendar Wiki’s opening paragraphs on the Metonic cycle say:

The Metonic cycle or Enneadecaeteris in astronomy and calendar studies is a particular approximate common multiple of the year (specifically, the seasonal i.e. tropical year) and the synodic month. Nineteen tropical years differ from 235 synodic months by about 2 hours. The Metonic cycle’s error is one full day every 219 years, or 12.4 parts per million.

19 tropical years = 6939.602 days
235 synodic months = 6939.688 days

It is helpful to recognize that this is an approximation of reality.


New laser technology delves into Earth’s history.
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Earth turned faster at the end of the time of the dinosaurs than it does today, reports, rotating 372 times a year compared to the current 365, according to a new study of fossil mollusk shells from the late Cretaceous.

This means a day lasted only 23 and a half hours, according to the new study in AGU’s journal Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology.

The ancient mollusk, from an extinct and wildly diverse group known as rudist clams, grew fast, laying down daily growth rings. The new study used lasers to sample minute slices of shell and count the growth rings more accurately than human researchers with microscopes.


Jupiter-Saturn-Earth orbits chart

This was just about to go live when a new idea involving the Sun cropped up, now added to the original. The source data is from NASA JPL as usual.

From our 2015 de Vries post we saw that the 2503 year period, which the numbers were based on, consisted of 85 Saturn and 211 Jupiter orbits [see chart on the right].

Taking Saturn’s orbit period, and using JPL’s planetary data we find:
10755.7 days * 85 = 914234.5 days

The lunar year is 13 lunar orbits of Earth:
27.321582 days * 13 = 355.18056 days

914234.5 / 355.18056 = 2573.9992 (2574) = 13 * 198 lunar years

Number of beats of Saturn and the lunar year = 2574 – 85 = 2489 in 2503 years.
2503 – 2489 = 14
Number of Jose cycles in 2503 years = 14 (= 126 Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions, i.e. 9 J-S * 14).

Therefore the difference per Jose cycle between ‘Saturn-lunar year’ beats and Earth years is exactly one.


View from Titan [artist’s impression]

From the report: ‘the researchers said, learning more about the energy budget of Titan can add to the understanding of climate change on Earth.’ Indeed – and help could be at hand with that.

Researchers have found that Saturn’s largest moon Titan undergoes significant seasonal changes in its energy budget — the amount of solar energy it absorbs, and the heat it emits — an advance that may lead to new insights about climate fluctuations on the Earth, reports Financial Express.

The study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, noted that Titan is the only body in the solar system, other than Earth, with a significant atmosphere and liquid surface lakes.

The researchers, including those from the University of Houston in the US, said Titan’s dynamically-varying energy budget has important impacts on its weather and climate systems.


Neptune Moon Dance: This animation illustrates how the odd orbits of Neptune’s inner moons Naiad and Thalassa enable them to avoid each other as they race around the planet. (courtesy: JPL)

Well, this is fun. Need we say more?

Even by the wild standards of the outer solar system, the strange orbits that carry Neptune’s two innermost moons are unprecedented, according to newly published research.

Orbital dynamics experts are calling it a “dance of avoidance” performed by the tiny moons Naiad and Thalassa, says Space Newsfeed.

The two are true partners, orbiting only about 1,150 miles (1,850 kilometers) apart.



There are many reasons NASA is pursuing the Artemis mission to land astronauts on the moon by 2024: It’s a crucial way to study the moon itself and to pave a safe path to Mars, says

But it’s also a great place to learn more about protecting Earth, which is just one part of the larger Sun-Earth system.

Heliophysicists—scientists who study the Sun and its influence on Earth—will also be sending up their own NASA missions as part of Artemis. Their goal is to better understand the complex space environment surrounding our planet, much of which is driven by our Sun.