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19 Maret: Supermoon Pembawa Bencana Bumi? Benarkah?

Salah satu kelangkaan yang akan terjadi pada sabtu pekan depan, 19 Maret 2011, bulan akan tampak sangat besar daripada biasanya. Karena berada dalam jarak terdekatnya dengan bumi, hanya sekitar 221.567 mil atau 356.578 kilometer. Dan hal ini pernah terjadi dalam kurun waktu 18 tahun terakhir.

Fenomena mendekatnya bulan ke bumi tersebut disebut 'lunar perigee'. Tapi ada juga astrolog yang menyebutnya 'supermoon'.

Isu Supermoon kini mengemuka di sejumlah media terkemuka internasional. Apalagi, fenomena itu dikait-kaitkan dengan ancaman sejumlah bencana seperti gelombang pasang, letusan gunung berapi, bahkan gempa bumi.

Para penganut teori konspirasi bahkan mengatakan, tsunami Aceh 2004 yang merenggut lebih dari 200 ribu nyawa terjadi dua minggu sebelum supermoon 2005. Begitu juga dengan bencana angin siklon Tracy yang menyapu Darwin Australia di tahun 1974.

Lalu, apakah benar supermoon akan membawa bencana bagi bumi?

Astronom Lembaga Penerbangan dan Antariksa Nasional (LAPAN), Thomas Djamaluddin, berpendapat: "Kabar menghebohkan itu tidak ilmiah, ada bumbu-bumbunya. Supermoon tidak berarti bencana,".

Ia pun menambahkan, bahwa posisi bulan mendekati bumi, hanya akan berpengaruh pada efek pasang surut. Rata-rata maksimal tergantung kondisi pantainya. Fenomena lunar perigee bukanlah hal yang istimewa. "Itu hanya posisi reguler. Orbit benda langit memang ada di jarak terdekat (perigee) dan terjauh (apogee),".

Namun, Thomas juga mengakui fenomena yang akan terjadi seminggu lagi itu tak biasa. "Istimewanya, kebetulan waktunya dekat dengan bulan purnama," kata Thomas. Dijelaskan pada 19 Maret, fenomena lunar perigee yang memiliki siklus sekitar 27,3 hari terjadi bersamaan dengan bulan purnama yang muncul tiap 29 hari.

Selama terjadi lunar perigee dan purnama, permukaan bulan akan tampak 14 persen lebih besar dan 30 persen lebih terang dari bulan purnama.

Pendapat Thomas senada dengan para astronom lainnya. Pete Wheeler dari International Centre for Radio Astronomy juga membantah anggapan bahwa supermoon bakal membawa bencana. "Tak akan ada gempa bumi atau gunung meletus," kata dia seperti dimuat, Jumat, 4 Maret 2011. "Kalau memang itu terjadi, itu sudah ditakdirkan."

Kata dia, saat itu bumi memang akan mengalami pasang lebih tinggi dan surut lebih rendah dari biasanya. "Tak ada yang perlu dikhawatirkan," tambah Wheeler.

Sementara itu, pakar bumi dan planet dari Adelaide University, Dr. Victor Gostin punya pendapat agak berbeda. Dia mengatakan, selama ini prediksi cuaca, gempa, gunung meletus, dan bencana alam lainnya berdasarkan konfigurasi planet tidak pernah akurat sepenuhnya. Namun, menurut dia dimungkinkan ada suatu korelasi antara gempa bumi berskala besar di dekat katulistiwa dan kondisi bulan. "Analoginya seperti pasang surut air laut, pergerakan bumi akibat gravitasi bulan bisa memicu gempa bumi."