Saturday, 9 August 2014

10 August 2014 - The largest Full Moon for the Year


Image of the Moon taken over Table Mountain, credit: Dr Steve Potter, SAAO.

Source: SAAO

Did you know that the Moon travels around the Earth in an oval shaped or elliptical orbit rather than a circular one? The average distance between the Earth and Moon is 384,400 km. However, because of its elliptical path, the distance to the Moon varies depending on where it is in its orbit around Earth. At its closest point or perigee, the Moon is about 50,000 km closer to Earth than at its most distant point (called apogee).

Full Moons that occur when the Moon is close to or at perigee are called Supermoons and they appear slightly larger and brighter than usual. There is nothing magical about a Supermoon, it is simply a coincidence that full moon has occured when the Moon is near to its closest point to Earth. Just like an aeroplane looks larger the closer it is, so does the Moon.

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