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What sank the Titanic? Scientists point to the moon

A hand out image released May 19, 2003 shows a photo of the Titanic. REUTERS/Christie's  NMB/JV

By Jim Forsyth

SAN ANTONIO | Tue Mar 6, 2012 3:30pm EST

(Reuters) - A century after the Titanic disaster, scientists have found an unexpected culprit for the sinking: the moon.

Anyone who knows history or has seen the blockbuster movies knows that the cause of the transatlantic liner's accident 100 years ago next month was that it hit an iceberg.

"But the lunar connection may explain how an unusually large number of icebergs got into the path of the Titanic," said Donald Olson, a Texas State University physicist whose team of forensic astronomers examined the moon's role.

Ever since the Titanic sank in the early hours of April 15, 1912, killing 1,517 people, researchers have puzzled over Captain Edward Smith's seeming disregard of warnings that icebergs were in the area where the ship was sailing.

Smith was the most experienced captain in the White Star Line and had sailed the North Atlantic sea lanes on numerous occasions. He had been assigned to the maiden voyage of the Titanic because he was a knowledgeable and careful seaman.

 

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