Thursday, March 8, 2012

30 years ago: The Jupiter Effect occurs--and nothing happens

On March 10, 1982, an alignment of the planets in the solar system that occurs every 179 years took place. The 1982 formation was popularly known as “The Jupiter Effect,” which was the title of a book by John R. Gribbin and Stephen Plagemann, published in 1974. The authors predicted catastrophic consequences, including an earthquake in California along the San Andreas Fault. Contrary to the expectations of the authors and others, nothing unusual resulted from the event, although Edmonton was hit by a huge dump of snow the following day. In fact, the results were so unspectacular that shortly thereafter, the authors of the book came out with a revised edition--titled The Jupiter Effect Reconsidered--in which they claimed that they had been off by a couple of years, and what they had predicted for 1982 had in fact occurred in 1980, such as the eruption of Mount St. Helens.

An obvious question comes to mind: Did anything catastrophic occur in 1803 and previous years in which this planetary alignment occurred?

Among those hyping the Jupiter Effect was Southwest Radio Church. I've always liked this ministry, although they have a regrettable history of taking Bible prophecies and going off on unscriptural tangents, and hyping non-existent threats, such as the Jupiter Effect and Y2K (anyone remember that? It was going to destroy us all). I have SWRC's Catalog of Publications dated September 1981, and it includes no less than six items directly related to the Jupiter Effect (comments in original):

Books of less than fifty pages
B-39 Parade of the Planets, by Dr. David F. Webber
An excellent correlation of prophetic signs in the heavens and the 1982 alignment of the planets are discussed in this book.

Books of more than fifty pages
B-4 Apocalyptic Signs in the Heavens, by Dr. David F. Webber
This book by Dr. Webber deals with heavenly signs which are mentioned in Scripture, and also with the 1982 alignment of the planets.

The Gospel Truth
L-0 Parade of the Planets (December 1976)
First published in 1974, this article deals with the coming planetary alignment in 1982. For the latest update of the information contained in this Gospel Truth, see the listing for L-173, the December 1979 edition, entitled "God, Gravity, & 1982, The Battle of the Planets."

L-173 God, Gravity, & 1982 (December 1979)
A new update on signs in the heavens, upcoming sunspot activity, earthquakes, and the Jupiter effect.

Cassettes
C-80 Parade of the Planets, by Dr. David F. Webber
2 messages; 1 tape for an offering of $6
In 1982 the nine planets of our solar system will be in conjunction on one side of the sun. This happens every one hundred and seventy-nine years. This study attempts to account for some of the signs in the heavens which have been prophesied for the last days.


Color Slide Series
S-1 Parade of the Planets
Over one hundred slides showing how, as planets move into alignment in 1982, their gravitational pull may cause huge storms on the sun. These storms could alter wind directions on earth, reducing the speed of the planet's rotation and triggering serious earthquakes.

As well, I suspect that cassette C-1--Apocalyptic Signs in the Heavens--contains material on the Jupiter Effect. Oddly, none of Southwest Radio Church's materials on the Jupiter Effect are available 30 years later, and you won't find any mention of the Jupiter Effect at their website. Why is that? ;)

I remember listening to Southwest Radio Church in those days, although I don't recall all the details of their Jupiter Effect broadcasts. It's unfortunate that SWRC's broadcast archive goes back only to 2008 (although their site once had broadcasts from earlier in the 2000s available), and that most of their earlier publications are no longer available. Even the stuff that turned out to be wrong would still make for interesting listening and reading, and I hope they restore to their archive the broadcasts they once had available. I'd actually like them to make their entire broadcast and print archive available, but they probably lack the resources to do that.

March 9, 2012 update: From the more things change, the more they remain the same department: A number of blogs have posted items this week warning of severe consequences from the strongest solar eruption in five years. However, the result has been less than expected, as reported by Agence France-Presse on March 8, 2012:

WASHINGTON A space weather storm that was forecast to be the strongest in five years has fizzled out and ended up causing no impact to power grids or modern navigation systems, US experts said on Thursday.

A series of eruptions on the Sun this week sent radiation and solar plasma hurtling toward Earth at high speeds but in the end, the geomagnetic storm registered the lowest level, G1, on a five-step scale.

“Our forecasters really struggled with this one,” said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist Joseph Kunches, comparing the bungled forecast to watching a pitcher toss a baseball but knowing nothing else until it reaches the catcher.

“We missed the spin on the ball,” said Kunches.

NOAA had forecast the storm would be a level three, or “strong,” and said it would be the worst since 2006. NASA had said it might even be “severe.”

In this case, the “spin” that forecasters missed was contained in the orientation of the magnetic field inside the coronal mass ejection from the Sun that raced toward Earth and arrived early Thursday after a 34-hour journey.

“It is very difficult for forecasters, literally almost impossible, as you watch the coronal mass ejection come off the Sun to be able to predict the orientation of that embedded magnetic field,” he said.

Kunches said there were no reports of GPS disruption, no reports of problems in terms of electric power, and that anticipated displays of the northern lights, or aurora borealis, would be visible further north than NOAA initially said.

However, the impacts could worsen over the next 24 hours as the storm continues, he said. NOAA and NASA had warned on Wednesday that the storm could disrupt global positioning systems, satellites and power grids, and had already caused some air carriers to change their planes’ polar flight paths.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station were not affected by the radiation storm, NASA said. Geomagnetic and radiation storms are growing more frequent as the Sun leaves its solar minimum period and moves into a solar maximum over the coming years, but people are generally protected by Earth’s magnetic field.

However, some experts are concerned that because the world is more reliant on GPS and satellite technology now than it was during the last solar maximum, more disruptions to modern life are likely.

The fuss began late Sunday at an active region on the Sun known as 1429, with a big solar flare that was associated with a coronal mass ejection that thrust toward the Earth at some four million miles (6.4 million kilometers) per hour).

A pair of solar flares and a CME followed overnight Tuesday-Wednesday.

NASA said the first of the two flares on March 6-7, classified in the potent X class and facing directly at the Earth, was the biggest this year and one of the largest of this cycle known as the solar minimum, which began in early 2007.

In fact, it was second only to a stronger one that erupted in August. The solar flares alone caused brief high frequency radio blackouts that have already passed, according to NOAA. But while solar radiation storm registered a level 3, the geomagnetic storm ended up being the same minor level as a similar event in January, Kunches said.

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