Science blog
Orbital mechanics affect methane levels
Antarctic lake keeps its secrets for now
How snakes lost their legs
Researchers ponder cancer origins
Forming social networks a no-brainer
'Niceness' partly genetic, say scientists
Omega-3 may keep blindness at bay
Coral shines light on rainfall records
Old bone proves Lucy was no swinger
Scientists unlock cosmic ice riddle
Study links pesticides to Parkinson's
Digital world growing faster every year
Energy drinks put kids at risk: report
Robotics speed up cancer drug development
Zinc cuts short the common cold
Counting kicks in at 18 months
NASA spacecraft unravels comet mystery
Astronomers dig up cannibalised galaxy
Study links extreme weather to climate change
Turkey quake gives warning clues
US scientists build first 'antilaser'
Website meltdown leaves scientists fuming
Earth 'unrecognisable' by 2050: experts
Canola fungus genome unravelled
Moonageddon: Apocalypse not
Romantics, werewolves and other moon gazers are in for a treat this weekend as they witness the biggest full moon seen in nearly 20 years.

But experts are discounting predictions of earthquakes associated with the event.

The Moon's orbit is elliptical, and as it follows its path, one side of the ellipse, known as perigee, passes about 50,000 kilometres closer than the on the other side - apogee.

A perigee full Moon appear around 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than an apogee full Moon.

Geoffrey Wyatt from Sydney Observatory says this upcoming full Moon, which NASA's website says will be of "rare size and beauty", will rise at about 08:00 pm (AEDT) on Saturday. But it becomes full on Sunday morning at 05:10 am (AEDT), one hour before lunar perigee.

"So, Sunday morning, those people who are up early or getting home super late, look to the west and you'll see the biggest moon for 18 years," says Wyatt.

The last time the full Moon was so big and close to Earth was in March 1993.

"You've got two cycles here. You've got 29 and a half days between full Moons and then you've got 27 and a half days from apogee to apogee," he says.

"That difference builds up and although you get a perigee every month, to get it at minimum distance takes about 18 years."

Perigee full moons also usually bring extra-high tides, but Daniel Jaksa, co-director of the joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre says they will probably be a fraction of one per cent higher than normal.
Earthquake predictions

Meanwhile an Auckland-based mathematician known as the 'Moonman', Ken Ring, has warned the perigee Moon will cause another major earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ring claims he predicted Christchurch's 22 February quake by studying the Moon.

But, Wyatt says he'd like to see some scientific proof to back the Moonman's claims.

"For a few weeks now we've been hearing people talk about 'Moonageddon'," he says. "It's depressing to hear people saying this sort of thing.

"There is absolutely no evidence for a causal link between the phases of the Moon and earthquake activity. It's something you might find in 'Tom's Backyard Mechanic's Book of Celestial Tomfoolery', but you're not going to find that in peer-reviewed journals."

Jaksa agrees.

"You only have to look at the major energy source that's driving the tectonic process and it's not the Moon. It's the convection currents in the mantle as the Earth tries to cool down from its core outwards that drives plate tectonics."

Wyatt says the claims are a symptom of the human condition.

"People blame things on the alignment of the planets because they want an explanation, but it's not the Moon's fault."

Brain efficiency comes from parents
Backward bending light key to stealth
Signs of 'alien life' found in meteorites
Accurate blood test for Down's
Disaster volunteers at risk: study
Elephants smart as chimps, dolphins
Gadgets ruining people's sleep
Why skin doesn't dissolve in the bath
Astronomers find old heads in a young crowd
Paper leads to perfect beer head
Researchers locate brain's loudness map
Jamming may leave GPS in the wilderness
Pain washes guilt away
Quake could alter Tokyo risk: experts
Japan meltdown not like Chernobyl: expert
Dreamtime astronomers understood meteors
CERN restarts search for cosmic origins
Nuclear Contamination: What to Do
Bet-hedging 'key to natural selection'
Humans age same as other primates
US overdue, under-prepared for huge quake
Sperm's egg-seeking secrets revealed
Lasers to nudge space junk out harm's way
Researchers uncover gastro's sugary secret
Kepler probes inside swollen red giant
Randomness could 'improve democracy'
Moonageddon: Apocalypse not
Museum unveils Columbian mammoth
Ink-jet inspire scientists to make skin
Seaweed offers clues against malaria
Christchurch quakes may be connected
Solar storms pose risk to technology
Study finds fences thwart cane toad
Mobile phone alters brain activity
Sticky dots approved for clinical trial
Humans stink worse than other animals
Putting the bounce in carbon balls
Sulphur secrets uncovered
Cool laser makes atoms march in time
Hot flashes may be a sign of good heart
Scientists see the birth of a new planet
X-ray expectations change search methods
Eucalypt-harming fungus here to stay
Life elements came from outer space
Cricket wimps use perfume to find mates
Orphan planets could support life
Speech lights up visual cortex in blind
How the Sun loses its spots
Cancer resistance mechanism found
Fungus turns Amazonian ants into zombies
Tiny grains record solar system's infancy
Antarctic ice forming beneath glaciers
Visit Statistics