“The supermoon story has received a lot of attention, although there is very little substance. Every month, as the Moon circles the Earth is its elongated orbit, its distance from the Earth varies. At perigee, it is 14 percent closer than at apogee, and therefore appears 14 percent larger. This change is too small to be noticed, unless you have some way to make a precise measurement of the Moon’s apparent size. This month, the perigee happens within an hour of full phase. The moment of full moon is also not easily apparent, and most people will call the Moon’s phase “full” over two or three days. So yes, the full moon is a little bit closer and brighter this month than usual, but if you miss it, the Moon will be very nearly as close at the next full moon, and it also was at the full moon last month. For comparison, if you watch your auto speedometer you will know when you reach an exact speed of 60 mph, but looking out the window it is hard to tell 60 mph from 58 or 59 mph. Perhaps, however, the supermoon publicity will encourage people to take a moment to look at our Moon. Incidentally, “supermoon” is not an astronomical term but seems to have been invented recently by astrologers.”

Posted by: Soderman/NLSI Staff
Source: NASA/ http://lpod.wikispaces.com/March+22%2C+2011

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