- Tonight, the moon will make its closest approach to Earth in 18 years.
- Many are worried that such an event might cause a major earthquake, or that it might have caused the Japanese quake last week.
- However, experts know of no link between the moon and major earthquakes on Earth.
Tonight's rare lunar occurrence, when Earth's natural satellite is only a mere 356,575 kilometers out in orbit, brings the moon to its closest position to Earth.
This phenomenon of extreme proximity, known as 'maximal perigee,' only occurs once every 18 years. In addition to appearing to be uncommonly big to stargazers, the moon will also be in its full phase. However, what some might see as an interesting astronomical event raises concerns for others.
Despite opinions being dispersed over the Internet that the 'super moon' will lead to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions, geologist Bill Burton with the US Geological Survey says that this is unlikely.
"There are just too many factors that go into seismic activity to make that statement," Burton told Discovery News. "I think you'd be hard pressed to see a difference in tectonic activity during different lunar phases."