A 1982 book The Jupiter Effect suggested the alignment of planets could trigger apocalyptic catastrophes across the globe – from the ‘Big One’ earthquake on California’s San Andreas Fault to successive volcanic eruptions. Written by John Gribbin and Stephen Plagemann, the text argued that every 179 years, an approximate alignment of the planets take place – and in turn, sparks major changes to the Earth.
The authors argued the San Andres Fault, in particular, was already strained and ready to rupture.
And they claimed the whole causal chain on the next planetary alignment, which would have been in 1982, would come into play and result in huge earthquakes.
The book said the pair, who were both astronomers with PhD’s from the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy at the University of Cambridge, sought to “warn the inhabitants of the imminence of a devastating earthquake about 1982.”
But no earthquake ever happened. Their apocalyptic forecast for 1982 never happened.
Astronomy author Guy Ottewell revealed there is another planetary alignment taking place right now, so what does this mean for Earth?
Writing on his blog Universal Workshop, Guy Ottewell said: “There’s been discussion among the commenters at my blog about a current alignment of planets and about whether its tidal stress on Earth could have effects, such as increased volcanism. So I thought I’d show where the planets are in July 2020.”
Mr Ottewell explained that on July 21, the ecliptic heliocentric longitudes of the planets are:
So some of the planets at present “happen to be roughly on a spoke outward from the Sun.”
He explained: “The tidal force of body A on body B is the difference between its gravitational pull on the side of B nearer to it and on the side farther.
“That’s why there is a high tide on the side of Earth nearest to the Moon and also on the opposite side.”
The distance between the centres of Moon and Earth is on average 238,606 miles (384,000km), while the radius of Earth is 4,000 miles (6,378km).
So this means the Moon’s distances to the near and far sides average at 2,500 miles (390,378km).
In other words, the difference between those is approximately three percent.
The distance of gas giant Jupiter from Earth is about 621 million miles.
So the distances from Jupiter to the nearer and farther sides of Earth are 780,000,000,000 miles, plus and minus 6,378 miles. That’s a difference of about 0.0016 percent.
So this means there is a very, very small effect, and Mr Ottewell says this not enough to cause an uptick in huge earthquakes and devastating volcano eruptions.
Speaking about the 1974 book, he added: “There was some evidence that global tides may have been 40 micrometers (40 thousandths of a millimetre) higher than average.
“The only other part of the prediction that came true was that the book was a best-seller.”