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Tidal and Gravity Effects
At first glance, the claims that planetary alignments or groupings will cause earthquakes, floods, solar eruptions, and perhaps even the destruction of the Earth do seem interesting. Gravity is a long reaching force, and the planets are big. Can their influence reach across the solar system and cause all sorts of headaches here on Earth?
As always, it is not a bad idea to run a sanity check first. We have pretty good evidence that the Earth has been around a long time, approximately 5 billion years, without being split in two. As it turns out, close planetary configurations are fairly rare on a human time time scale, but NOT on a geologic time scale. Getting more than three to go into conjunction is difficult; getting them all to be in close conjunction is rare indeed. But 5 billion years is a long time! Close configurations may be rare, but given enough time they do occur, and the Earth is still here. Even more, what most doomsayers say is an alignment is really more of a confluence, or loose gathering, of planets. Some say it is enough to just have them all on the same side of the Sun, which happens pretty often! This is a hallmark of crackpot science: Using inflammatory words, then, when cornered, start being very vague and loose with your terms. "Alignment" sounds much better than "loose collection" or "a pattern somewhat weighted towards one side of the Sun", which are more accurate. I think we can rest assured that the Earth will not be destroyed any time soon.
Brian Monson's Web page where he has worked out the positions and times of several past alignments and shows that better "alignments" in recent history than the one in May of 2000 have occurred with no ill effects. There is also an excellent page giving great detail about the upcoming "alignment" constructed by the Griffith Observatory. Yet another page has been set up by Truman Collins. Much of this page here was constructed by the information supplied by these pages and by the Bad Astronomy Web pages.
But just how strong is the influence of the planets? This turns out to be a relatively easy calculation. First, let me make something clear: there are two effects a planet can have. One is simply gravity, which basically means how hard that planet can pull on us. The other influence is tidal force, which is more complicated, but you can think of it as a stretching force rather than a simple pull. Think of it this way: a strong enough gravity could pull the Earth from its orbit, while a strong enough tide could rip it in half. Can the planets do this to us? Could they possibly send Earth flying into space, or rend us asunder (quick answer: no). We will start with gravity, and then show why tides are even less important.
Gravity depends on two things: the mass of the object pulling on you, and its distance . The bigger an objects mass, the stronger it pulls, and the farther away it is, the less it pulls. As a matter of fact, for gravity the strength depends on the square of the distance. If you double the distance, the force of gravity drops by 2 x 2 = 4. If you put something ten times farther away, the gravitational force drops by 10 x 10 = 100. You can see that gravity gets weak pretty quickly with distance.
The tidal force is much like gravity, but it drops with the cube of the distance . This makes it much less important in our case! Say you double the distance to an object. Its tidal force on the Earth drops by 2 x 2 x 2 = 8. If you increase its distance by a factor of ten, the tidal force drops by 10 x 10 x 10 = 1000! So tides are in fact much weaker than gravity.
So if we know the mass of an object and its distance, we can calculate the forces of both gravity and tides. It shouldn't be too much of a surprise to find out that the overwhelming winner in this game is the Earth's own Moon. Its mass is small in comparison to the other planets (only about 1/80 of the Earth), but it is very close (Venus, the closest planet to the Earth, is at best 150 times farther away!). To make matters easier on us, let's say that the Moon's gravitational force on the Earth is equal to 1 in whatever units gravity is measured in. That way we can see right away how strong the other planets are; a gravity of 10 means the planet pulls on the Earth 10 times as much as the Moon does. We can do the same with tides; assume that the tidal force is equal to 1 in tidal force units and see how the other planets fare. So, in units of Moon gravity and tides, below are the forces on the Earth from rest of the planets The masses are in units of 1022 kilograms (the Earth masses 6x1024 kilograms, or 600 on this scale), and the distances in millions of kilometers. By the way, the distances of closest approach to the Earth are used to maximize the effect. Realistically, the force will be smaller than what is listed.
Let's look at gravity first. Right away you can see that even mighty Jupiter, king of the planets, only pulls about 0.01 (= 1%) as hard as the Moon does (just to show how this was done, Jupiter mass is 27,000 times the Moon, but is 1640 times farther away. The square of 1640 is about 2.7 million, and 27,000/2.7 million=0.01). Venus is next, with only 0.6% of the Moon's force. After that, the numbers drop a lot. The total pull of all the planets combined is 0.017, not even 2% of the Moon's pull!
That ain't much. But is it enough to destroy the Earth?
No, it isn't. Think of it this way: the Moon orbits the Earth in an ellipse, which means that sometimes in its orbit it is closer to the Earth than others. At perigee, or closest approach, it is about 363,000 kilometers away, and at apogee, or farthest point, it is about 405,000 kilometers away. If you use these numbers like we did above, you see that the Moon's own gravitational effect on the Earth fluctuates by about 25% every orbit! The Moon orbits the Earth in about a month, incidentally, so it goes from apogee to perigee every two weeks. So every 14 days we see a change in gravitational effects from the Moon more than 10 times greater than all the other planets combined! To put this in even more perspective, the force of the Moon on you is only about 0.000003 times the Earth's. For me, that means I weigh an extra 0.4 grams (0.0009 pounds) more when the Moon is under my feet versus when it's on the horizon (and therefore not contributing to the downward pull of the Earth). Not much!
Now let's look at tides. Venus stretches us the most of the planets, simply because it is the closest on average. But look! Even Venus only stretches us 5 hundred thousandths as much as the Moon does! This is completely negligible, and the other planets have even less effect. The change in tidal force due to the Moon's elliptical orbit is hugely larger than the combined tides of all the planets. It's worth mentioning that the "alignment" in 2000 has all the planets on the far side of the Sun. This means that you can add 300 million kilometers to the above distances, and I think you can see that the numbers will drop even an enormous amount more! For example, Jupiter's gravity drops from 0.02 to 0.005, and Venus' tides drop by a factor of 500!
Keep in mind that close planetary configurations have happened many times in the past and note that the Earth still exists. Feel better now? Of course you do. Crackpots (i.e., astrologers and psychics), it would seem, have a much stronger influence on our minds than our bodies.
Originally posted by ucantcme
Originally posted by Dalke07
Hi to all ..
You all know for alignments, but i want to put accent for dangerous in next 60 days..
Alignments from May 7, 2011 to Jul 7, 2011 constantly brought dangerous for our mother Earth ..
Big earthquakes, big volcanos, catastrophic weather have very possibility to happens this 60 days ..
For my way of thinking, Jun is more dangerous from May ..
Try to see yourself here, zoom end try from all altitudes ..
Have to mach alignments in next 60 days to post pictures ..
I hope nothing catastrophic happend ..
Peace whit yo00u ..
edit on 9-5-2011 by Dalke07 because: (no reason given)edit on 9-5-2011 by Dalke07 because: (no reason given)
I find the subject of planetary alignments very intresting. There is a lot of information floating around out there on this subject whether it is based on fact or prophetic predictions. I'm not really sure what to think about this, but this is what NASA has to say...
There are no planetary alignments in the next few decades, Earth will not cross the galactic plane in 2012, and even if these alignments were to occur, their effects on the Earth would be negligible. Each December the Earth and sun align with the approximate center of the Milky Way Galaxy but that is an annual event of no consequence.
I was under the impression that there are quite a few alignments coming up in the next couple years. But according to NASA that is not the case. So its another one of those I dont know what to believe situations.