M80 Open Globular Cluster (the most beautiful thing I ever saw through my telescope)

In the last few months, article after article and news brief after news brief has been penned about Super Moons, a term that means nothing to real astronomers, who have learned (after Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s experience) to keep their mouths shut about the subject.  Yet some amateur astronomers, including the author, just can’t.  What infuriates me about the entire business is these Super Moon stories seem to gather Internet traffic like lint on cashmere. Even the most reputable news outlets can’t resist the easy money.

Advertisers rake in thousands from the ads and traffic coupled with a made-up astronomical term, or one connected to astrology, the bane of every astronomer since time immemorial.  A “Supermoon” is just a moon at perigee syzygy (see-zee-gee), or at its closest point in orbit around Earth.  It has no effect on weather, tides or geology phenomenon. Very few people even notice its marginally larger size.

Instead of turning this into a tirade on pseudoscience and media’s responsibility in curbing misinformation, how about I offer an alternative? Instead of bothering with the Supermoon crap, here are three astronomical events/subjects far more interesting and relevant. Look them up. You won’t be disappointed.

The Tragedy of Soyuz 11.  Three cosmonauts died after being exposed to the vacuum of space.

The WOW! Signal.  To date, the ONLY unexplained radio signal received in 1977 at Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope.

Buzz Aldrin Proves He’s Still a Badass.  Indirectly related to astronomy, but a personal favorite. The lunar landing conspiracy stuff is absolutely ridiculous, yet fools still propagate and believe it. In this case, one forgot that the original batch of astronauts were pretty hard dudes.

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