Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Titanic tragedy blamed on Moon

The Titanic sank off Newfoundland on her maiden voyage to the United States after striking an iceberg
The Titanic sank off Newfoundland on her maiden voyage to the United States after striking an iceberg
A bracelet from the Titanic which was recovered from the ocean floor during an expedition to the site of the tragedy (AP)
Some of the survivors of the Titanic disaster. 1912.
The Titanic signature project currently under construction
Buggy bar: Titanic Belfast
Shipyard worker William Parr (background) pictured in the Titanic gym along with instructor T W McCawley
Giant starboard anchor of the Titanic is raised for the last time. 1.55pm 11th April 1912 in a picture taken by Father Browne.
1st class dining room on RMS Titanic taken by Father Browne.
Marconi Room on RMS Titanic showing Harold Bride in a picture taken by Father Browne.
The Dutch Suite aboard the RMS Titanic. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The Titanic had a fully equiped gymnasium 44 feet long and 18 feet wide. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
A shipyard worker's ticket to the launch of the RMS Titanic. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Lord Pirrie, chairman of H&W (left) and Bruce Ismay, chairman of White Star, make a final tour of inspection of Titanic before her launch. 31/5/1911. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic first class suite bedroom 'b58'. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic at fitting-out wharf with three out of four funnels fitted. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic. Hydraulic launch rams below port bow. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic, double bottom and initial plating of tank top of Olympic, with keel of Titanic laid on No.3 slip. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic, port near profile during outfitting at Thompson deepwarter wharf. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic, upper part of stern frame in position. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The Titanic's two main engines near completion in engine works erecting shop. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic. Port bow 3/4 profile afloat immediately after launch. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic first class cafe parisienne. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic. The Great gantry, Queen's Island, Belfast. This photograph shows the enormous scale of the ship, together with the complex structure of the enfolding steel gantry, from which she will soon be free. The photograph also reflects old and new maritime technologies, with the traditional wooden schooner in the foreground contrasting eith the modernity ot Titanic. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic. In this photograph of the cabinet shop, taken in 1899, a small army of cabinet-makers are at work. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Workmen prepare the Titanic slipway. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic leaving Belfast. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The crew of the RMS Titanic, pictured just before her maiden voyage. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The hull of the S.S. Titanic. under construction in dry dock. The tragic sinking of the Titanic nearly a century ago can be blamed on low grade rivets that the ship's builders used on some parts of the ill-fated liner, two experts on metals conclude in a new book. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Harland & Wolff drawing room. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The "unsinkable" four-funnelled ship the SS Titanic. Part of the White Star Line, Titanic sank off Newfoundland on her maiden voyage to the USA after striking an iceberg (14-15/4/1912). Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The Titanic being built in Belfast. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The transporting of the Titanic's anchor. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic designer Thomas Andrews. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Olympic and Titanic. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Shipyard men fitting the starboard tailshaft of the Titanic prior to her launch. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The Titanic launches into the water. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The shipyard men leaving Queen's Island at the end of a working day in May 1911. Some of them have boarded electric trams for parts of the city beyond walking distance. In the background the Titanic can be seen under her huge gantry. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Three loftsmen, pictured in 1910 chalking the lines of a ship on portable wooden flooring at Harland and Wolff. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Brilliant new footage of a first class cabin on the Titanic. A live television link-up shows spectacular footage of the captain's cabin
Brilliant new footage of a first class cabin on the Titanic. A live television link-up shows spectacular footage of the captain's cabin
Pipes and the captain's bathtub are shown in this July 2003 photo, of what remains of the captain's cabin on the Titanic more than two miles underwater in the north Atlantic. Recent research dives to the legendary shipwreck are showing the vessel is deteriorating faster than earlier thought.

The fate of the Titanic may have been written in the heavens due to an astonishing set of celestial coincidences, according to a new theory.

A rare conjunction of the Moon and Sun caused icebergs to be swept into the path of the doomed Belfast-built liner, scientists believe. The “once-in-many-lifetimes” event brought together the Moon's closest approach to the Earth for 1,400 years, a near encounter between the Earth and the Sun, and a spring tide.

All these factors contributed to abnormally high sea levels which helped dislodge grounded icebergs and send them into the North Atlantic, it is claimed.

Preparations are now under way to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the disaster on Titanic's maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.

An investigation by US scientists at Texas State University — reported in Sky & Telescope magazine — may now have discovered why the ship’s route was littered with so many icebergs.

“Of course, the ultimate cause of the accident was that the ship struck an iceberg,” said lead researcher Dr Donald Olson. “The Titanic failed to slow down, even after having received wireless messages warning of ice ahead.

“They went full speed into a region with icebergs — that's really what sank the ship, but the lunar connection may explain how an unusually large number of icebergs got into the path of Titanic.”

Titanic's fate might have been sealed four months earlier on January 4 when there was a full Moon and spring tide. During a spring tide the Sun and Moon line up and the combined effect of their gravity causes sea levels to rise exceptionally high.

Factfile

Titanic, which was said to be “unsinkable”, struck an iceberg 375 miles south of Newfoundland on the night of April 14, 1912. Within hours the vessel had sunk without trace with the loss of 1,500 lives. Later it emerged that the Titanic had steamed at full speed into an area littered with icebergs despite warnings.

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