Big Moon

There’s a big moon coming tonight, a 20 year moon, a super perigee moon.  From the NASA website:

“Full Moons vary in size because of the oval shape of the Moon’s orbit. It is an ellipse with one side (perigee) about 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other (apogee). Nearby perigee moons are about 14% bigger and 30% brighter than lesser moons that occur on the apogee side of the Moon’s orbit.

Super Full Moon (movie strip, 550px) 

Above: Perigee moons are as much as 14% wider and 30% brighter than lesser full Moons. [video]

“The full Moon of March 19th occurs less than one hour away from perigee–a near-perfect coincidence1that happens only 18 years or so.”

I drive east when I drive home from work, so I often see the moon rising, huge and yellow shining through the trees on the horizon.  Though I’ve always noticed how big the rising moon looks, with objects on the horizon as a size reference, I’ve never fully understood why, and assumed I could look up the answer some day.  But the NASA website goes on to say, “The best time to look is when the Moon is near the horizon. That is when illusion mixes with reality to produce a truly stunning view. For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, low-hanging Moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects.”

Regardless of whatever information I have in my mind, the moon tonight is bound to be beautiful.  And it’s Sam’s birthday, so I can’t help but think this big moon is here today to say, “Happy 25th Birthday, Sam!”

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