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Full Moons likely to cause Bigger Earthquakes, says Researchers at University of Tokyo

While the theory is not new, the study is the first to find a statistical link between the moon and earthquakes

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Seagulls fly as the full moon rises behind the ancient marble Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, southeast of Athens, on the eve of the summer solstice. VOA
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September 14, 2016: Researchers at the University of Tokyo say large quakes are more likely during high tides, which happen twice a day. During high tides, the oceans are pulled by the moon’s gravity, but during a full and new moon, twice a month, the tides are particularly high, especially when the moon, the sun, and Earth line up.

Full moons may cause bigger earthquakes, according to a new study. This, researchers say, can further stress geological faults, triggering earthquakes.

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“The probability of a tiny rock failure expanding to a gigantic rupture increases with increasing tidal stress levels,” the researchers wrote in an article that appeared in the British journal Nature Geoscience.

While the theory is not new, the study is the first to find a statistical link between the moon and earthquakes.

For example, the researchers found that the 2004 Sumatra quake as well as a major 2011 quake in Japan both happened during high tides. The researchers say nine of the 12 biggest quakes ever recorded were timed with full or new moons.

The findings could help with earthquake forecasting, especially in places like Japan where earthquakes are common.

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“Scientists will find this result if confirmed, quite interesting,” said University of Washington seismologist John Vidale, who was not involved in the study.

But he added that “even if there is a strong correlation of big earthquakes with full or new moons, the chance any given week of a deadly earthquake remains minuscule.”(VOA)

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A Close Planet Orbiting A Star Dubbed As ‘Super-Earth’

The researchers studied the planet by combining measurements from several high-precision instruments mounted on telescopes around the world.

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An artistic impression of a sunset from Barnard's Star on a newly detected planet dubbed a "Super-Earth," in this handout illustration provided Nov. 14, 2018. VOA

A frozen and dimly lit planet, dubbed a “Super-Earth,” may be orbiting the closest single star to our solar system, astronomers said Wednesday, based on two decades of scientific observations.

The planet, estimated to be at least 3.2 times more massive than Earth, was spotted circling Barnard’s Star, a type of relatively cool and low-mass star called a red dwarf. Barnard’s Star is about 6 light-years away from our solar system, comparatively close in cosmic terms, and it’s believed that the planet obits this star every 233 days.

Planets orbiting stars beyond our solar system are called exoplanets. Nearly 4,000 have been discovered. The newly discovered one is the second closest to our solar system ever found. It is thought to be a “Super-Earth,” a category of planets more massive than Earth but smaller than the large gas planets.

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This opens up the prospect that life could be possible throughout a wider range of other universes, if they exist, the researchers said. Pixabay

“After a very careful analysis, we are 99 percent confident that the planet is there,” researcher Ignasi Ribas of the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia and the Institute of Space Sciences said in a statement. “However, we’ll continue to observe this fast-moving star to exclude possible, but improbable, natural variations of the stellar brightness which could masquerade as a planet.”

Alpha Centauri

The only closer stars than Barnard’s Star are part of the triple-star system Alpha Centauri, located a bit more than 4 light-years from our solar system.

Two years ago, astronomers announced the discovery of a roughly Earth-sized planet circling Proxima Centauri, part of the Alpha Centauri system, in an orbit that might enable liquid water to exist on its surface, raising the possibility that it could harbor alien life.

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Astronomers discover ancient star formed by Big Bang, pixabay

The newly detected planet orbiting Barnard’s Star may not be so hospitable, with surface temperatures of perhaps minus 274 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 170 degrees Celsius). Barnard’s Star provides the frigid planet only 2 percent of the energy that the sun provides Earth.

Also Read: NASA’s Ralph Will Explore Jupiter’s Trojan Asteroids In 2021

The researchers studied the planet by combining measurements from several high-precision instruments mounted on telescopes around the world.

The research was published in the journal Nature. (VOA)