Debunked: January 4th 2014 – Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity – Float For 5 minutes!

nanotchi

Member
[Debunk in post #2, below]

Alright now... Found this today, it sounds really weird... o3o;;; can anyone take a shot at trying to debunk it?

January 4th 2014 – Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity – Float For 5 minutes! #ZeroGDay: http://news-hound.net/january-4th-2...es-gravity-float-for-5-minutes/#ixzz2nnPXtH9F

It has been revealed by the British astronomer Patrick Moore that, on the morning of January 4th 2014, an extraordinary astronomical event will occur. At exactly 9:47 am, the planet Pluto will pass directly behind Jupiter, in relation to the Earth. This rare alignment will mean that the combined gravitational force of the two planets would exert a stronger tidal pull, temporarily counteracting the Earth’s own gravity and making people weigh less. Moore calls this the Jovian-Plutonian Gravitational Effect.

Moore told scientists that they could experience the phenomenon by jumping in the air at the precise moment the alignment occurred. If they do so, he promised, they would experience a strange floating sensation.

Astronomers have long been aware that there would be an alignment of the planets on that date, when Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto would be on the same side of the Sun, within an arc 95 degrees wide. But now the effect could be expected as the gravitational effect of the other planets on the Earth’s crust is maximum even at their closest approach.

If you think you will be able to float around your house then you will be mistaken. BUT if you jump in the air at 9:47AM local time on January 4th 2014, it should take you about 3 seconds to land back on your feet instead of the usual 0.2 seconds.

January 4th 2013 will be a popular day for crazy stunts going on youtube. Do you have any ideas for stunts?

Leave a comment!

Twitter HashTag #ZeroGDay
 
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hemi

Senior Member.
It's a very old April Fools' Day joke.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jovian–Plutonian_gravitational_effect

[Added by Mick:]
The simplest debunk of this is to note that the Moon is the only planetary body that produces observable gravitational effects (the tides), and that those effects are not noticeable when jumping up and down (you feel the same weight at high tide and low tide). Jupiter and Pluto have no effect on the tides, and so must have an effect that is much less than the moon.

Hence the alignment of Jupiter and Pluto must have at most an effect that is twice something that is much less than the moon, which is not noticeable. So this effect will not be noticeable itself.

One could also do the math, which is more complicated, but not incredibly so.

The acceleration of a planet like Jupiter acting on you is G*(mass of Jupiter)/(distance squared). (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_acceleration)

G = 6.67384*10^-11 (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_constant, and note that G is different from g)
Mass of Jupiter = 1.898*10^27 kg (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jupiter_mass)
Closest Distance to jupiter = 588,000,000 km = 5.88*10^11 m (Source: ttp://www.space.com/18383-how-far-away-is-jupiter.html)

So acceleration from Jupiter = 6.67384*10^-11 * 1.898*10^27 / (5.88*10^11 * 5.88*10^11)
= 3.664*10^-7 = 0.0000003664 m/s^2

Compare that with Earth gravity, g = 9.8 m/s^2, Jupiter has an effect of 0.0000037% of normal earth gravity. So with Jupiter at its closest a 200 pound person would feel 0.0000074 pounds lighter.

Pluto being aligned with that will simply add a very tiny, but basically negligible, amount to that, because Pluto is a very small body (about 1/100000th the mass of Jupiter), and is much further away than Jupiter. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to calculate how much acceleration Pluto will add at its closest point. But it's significantly less than Jupiter, and hence basically nothing.
 
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M Bornong

Senior Member.
It was definitely Kurt Vonnegut, I think it was "Hocus Pocus", the Chinese learned to control gravity. Everybody knew they were doing it because every male got a hard on. I'll let you know on the 5th if gravity was affected.:)

 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
A 37 year-old joke being recycled. Quite amazing, and it speaks to the longevity of hoaxes, urban legends, and conspiracy theories. If you've not seen it before, then it's new to you, so there's always a fresh batch of people to run the joke on.

Patrick Moore died last december. I remember him on TV when I was young back in the UK. He had an interesting life:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Moore
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
A 37 year-old joke being recycled.

Recycled and embellished. :)

I missed it being a hybrid hoax on my first reading, but this bit...:

[bunk]Astronomers have long been aware that there would be an alignment of the planets on that date, when Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto would be on the same side of the Sun, within an arc 95 degrees wide. But now the effect could be expected as the gravitational effect of the other planets on the Earth’s crust is maximum even at their closest approach.[/bunk]

... is lifted directly from the Wiki entry for Gribbin's Jupiter Effect. The second sentence has been changed from "But no effect could be expected as the gravitational effect of the other planets on the Earth's crust is minimal even at their closest approach."

Needless to say, there's no such "alignment" on January 4th; the referenced syzygy took place on March 10th, 1982. Smithsonian has a recap (see #8) in Ten Notable Apocalypses That (Obviously) Didn’t Happen.
 
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