‘Super­moon’ only a threat to the really dumb


Thousands of years ago, as civilization emerged from loose bands of savages, most of the planet’s great thinking peoples developed basic astronomy as a way to organize their clocks and calendars.

The predictability of the rising and setting sun, as well as the moon, has been well within human grasp for countless centuries. Refined, tweaked, basically perfected over the years, science can tell us precisely where our one and only little moon is and will be at any time now or in the calculable future.

Extend that thinking by any method — including the scientific one — and only one possible conclusion could be reached. Yes, the same conclusion from the same calculations that Galileo himself could have performed on the smartphone he never invented:

The Moon isn’t gonna hit the earth. It isn’t going to even come close. It never does. It’s the Moon. That’s how a moon works.

Enough worry — with a dose of wry humor — had permeated the editorial offices of National Geographic that drove them to pen the headline Saturday evening:

“Supermoon Tonight—Not a Threat to Earth.”

Thank goodness they cleared the air. Without a doubt, it was the single-biggest thought on everyone’s mind going into the supermoon extrvaganza. Not “How can I line up the moon with this Doggie Diner head?” or “Can I look at it with my naked eye?”

No. The question pursed on the collective lips of the world Saturday night was: “Is tonight the night the moon breaks thousands if not millions of years of absolute predictability and imperils the earth via an observable condition repeated countless times throughout history?”

No. No no no. No now no never. ‘No’ enough that you never have to worry it happening. At all. Ever.

Now, perhaps the Moon gets rammed by a massive body of unanticipated or underestimated space rock, causing enormous volcanic fissures and throwing the entire Moon off its axis.

Then worry. And keep an eye on DA 2012 while you’re at it.

But until then, sleep soundly America and beyond, and enjoy the solace of a little more moonlight than usual.

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as associate professor at San Francisco State University.

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