The gravitational tug of a super moon


Not the actual super moon. This is a stock photo.

I am not quite sure whether it was the gravitational tug of a super moon or that of a full bladder that woke me up at 2.45 a.m. this morning. The point is I did get up at that time and saw the super moon.

One could not do it at the precise time of 10.35 p.m. CST when the moon was going to be at its brightest and largest because the Naperville sky was overcast. However, the reflected glow behind the cloud did feel unusually bright. I cursed the clouds under my breath and went to sleep.

The clouds having dispersed four hours later the moon still looked super. At its closest, it was 221,802 miles from Earth, that made it appear 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter.

I am not sure why I initially peeped at the moon through the gaps in the venetian blinds in my bathroom. It was as if I was looking for an intruder. I opened the blinds right after that to get the full lunar splendor. In retrospect, my action might have seemed surreptitious; of someone intent on catching the moon by surprise.

The super moon at that point had a very light yellow hue to it, of the kind that milk has when it is about to curdle. Either that or I have an early case of cataract.

There were those who thought the super moon will trigger all kinds of natural disasters, from earthquakes to massive tidal waves, not to mention sideshows such as wolves and dogs howling. Realistically, other than causing some minor tidal bulge scientists did not expect anything spectacular. I heard no dogs in the neighborhood barking. If I were in Ahmedabad, I might have heard a lot of dogs barking and howling but those barks and howls are prompted mostly by territorial fights or chronic hunger. I don’t think the street dogs of Ahmedabad know about super moons.



Illustration: MC

For me, the most compelling evidence that the super moon did not instigate any particularly erratic behavior among people came in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where a trial has started to prosecute the five key players behind the September 11, 2001 terrorist strikes.

Just a few hours before its onset, the five, led by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM), the mastermind, seemed to be working to a script. They were determined not to pay any attention to the proceedings and questions by the military judge, Army Colonel James L. Pohl. Their approach was very well thought out and it was aimed at disrupting the proceedings as much as they could. KSM and the four others reportedly started praying in the courtroom at one point.

News reports said KSM sat stroking his henna-dyed beard which was amusing because I did not realize the detainees at Guantanamo received personal grooming supplies. What is it with terrorists and dying beards? Even Osama Bin Laden had his own version of Just For Men, according to highly regarded Al Qaeda expert and journalist Peter Bergen’s latest book ‘Manhunt’.

Speaking of the super moon not making people behave strangely, I thought KSM showing up with his flowing beard properly henna-dyed was anything but erratic.

I also read in one of the news reports about the trial that the five want to be executed. But the prosecution instead wants the death penalty for them. Quite a conundrum, I say.


About chutiumsulfate

South Asians can infer from my name what I am. View all posts by chutiumsulfate

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