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The supermoon is coming

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Will this Saturday's supermoon cause natural disasters and social conflict? Or will it have little or no effect on the Earth?

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No reason to panic

Get prepared for the supermoon.

This Saturday the moon will appear at its biggest and fullest for 18 years. It will be almost 30,000 kilometres closer to the Earth than it normally is, a phenomenon known as the “supermoon”.

That has to be bad, right? Did you know the Indian Ocean tsunami happened just two weeks before a supermoon on Jan 10, 2005?

And this year’s massive earthquake in Japan took place eight days before Saturday's phenomenon.

Pinyo Pongcharoen, president of the International Astrology Association, is predicting the supermoon will cause social conflict as lunar power tends to make people more unstable.

He is also warning people to prepare for natural disasters, especially those involving water.

Scientists around the world, however, say such fears are nonsense.

Prapee Viraporn, secretary-general of the Thai Astronomical Society, said the phenomenon was normal.

Since the moon has an oval orbit, it moves to its closest and furthest point from Earth a few times each year.

"It will not produce any significant impact on Earth except for the daily high and low tide," she said.

"But on Saturday we will see a bigger moon as it moves closest to Earth."

Ms Prapee dismissed the notion that natural disasters tend to occur near a supermoon. She said the appearance of supermoons near the time of the 2004 tsunami and this year’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan was mere coincidence.

Sathon Vijarnwannaluck, a physics lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, said there was no scientific link between the phases of the moon and natural disasters. Studies have found that the moon's gravitational power is not strong enough to move the Earth's plates, he said.

"People should not panic about something that is not supported by scientific studies," he said. "How many times have we had earthquakes? I believe that earthquakes happen more frequently than supermoons.
Adapted from a story by Apinya Wipatayotin in today’s Bangkok Post.

panic – a sudden strong feeling of fear or worry that causes you to be unable to think clearly or calmly ความตื่นตกใจ
appear – to be seen; to start to be seen ปรากฏ
phenomenon – something that exists and can be seen, felt, tasted, etc., especially something which is unusual or interesting ปรากฏการณ์
massive – very large in size, amount or numberใหญ่โต
astrology – the study of the movements and positions of the sun, moon, planets and stars, and the skill of describing the expected effect that these are believed to have on the character and behaviour of humans โหราศาสตร์
predict – to say that an event or action will happen in the future, especially as a result of knowledge or experience คาดการณ์ว่า พยากรณ์จากสถิติว่า
conflict – an angry disagreement between people or groups ความขัดแย้ง
lunar – of or relating to the moon เกี่ยวกับพระจันทร์
tend – to be likely to behave in a particular way or have a particular characteristic มักจะ
unstable – likely to change or move instead of staying the same ไม่มั่นคง
warning – an action or statement telling someone of a possible problem or danger คำเตือน
natural disaster –an unexpected natural event, such as a very bad storm or flood that kills a lot of people or causes a lot of damage ความหายนะธรรมชาติทาง, ภัยพิบัติธรรมชาติทาง
nonsense –  ideas, behaviour, or statements that are not true or sensible  ไม่มีสาระ, ไร้สาระ
astronomy – the scientific study of the stars, planets, and other objects in the universe ดาราศาสตร์
oval – shaped like an egg  รูปไข่
orbit – a curved path followed by a planet or an object as it moves around another planet, star, moon, etc วิถีโคจร, วงโคจร
impact – an effect or influence  ผลกระทบ
tide – the regular rise and fall of the level of the sea (the tides) ปรากฏการณ์น้ำขึ้นน้ำลง, กระแสน้ำขึ้นน้ำลง
dismiss – – to refuse to accept that something might be true or important ปฏิเสธ, ไม่สนใจ,แย้งกลับ
notion – belief or idea ความคิด, ความเชื่อ, แนวคิด
occur – to happen เกิดขึ้น
mere – not large or important เพียงเท่านั้น
coincidence – a situation in which separate things happen by chance at the same time or in the same way เหตุบังเอิญ
link – a connection การเชื่อมต่อ
phases of the moon – each of the shapes of the moon as we see it from the earth at different times of the month  ลักษณะของดวงจันทร์หรือดวงดาวที่ปรากฎในช่วงเวลาต่างๆ กัน
gravity (adjective form: gravitational) – the force that attracts objects in space towards each other, and that on the earth pulls them towards the centre of the planet, so that things fall to the ground when they are dropped  แรงดึงดูดของโลก
(continental) plate – one of the large surfaces making up the earth's surface that has broken apart form other surfaces, which is made of rock and move very slowly แผ่นเปลือกโลก
frequent – happening often เกิดขึ้นบ่อย


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