Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wow! Would you look at that?!

Pay close attention, my little Scottish Moonkin.   :)
Saturday night marks an unusual event not seen in 20 years...a REALLY BIG full Moon.

No, there isn't a punch line.  It's the truth.

Rarer than the notorious "Blue Moon",  which occurs every 2.5 years, the full moon of March 19th is going to appear bigger and brighter.  Why?  Because it will be a "super perigee moon".  Here's the scientific explanation courtesy of Geoff Chester with the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington.

"Full moons look different because of the elliptical shape of the moon's orbit. When it's at perigee, the moon is about 31,000 miles (50,000 km) closer to Earth than when it's at the farthest point of its orbit, also known as apogee."

At sunset the moon will appear even larger as it rises due to something technically known as "moon illusion."  Want to know all the scientific stuff?  Go here.

In simple Human Earth speak...get thee outside and look up!  Otherwise you'll have to wait until 2029 to witness this again!


Jimmy said...

The moon allegedly rotates only once during each revolution about the Earth, so we assume that we will never see more than half of its total surface. The truth, however, is that we actually get to see more of it over the course of its elliptical orbit: 59 percent in fact. In Scotland, certain parts of the country have special hidden viewing areas from which the moon appears closer than anywhere else on earth.

Titus said...

Moonkin Alert activated!
Perigee? Perigee?! Great word, I never knew apogee had an opposite!
And moon illusion... oh, the possibilities are endless.

Ponita in Real Life said...

Well, I will have to travel if I want to see that moon... cloud and rain forecast here for tonight. :-(

Perhaps I should go to Scotland. That seems to be a good vantage point.

I do love the harvest moons we get in the autumn, though... a giant golden orb rising up from the horizon, shrinking ever slightly as it inches its way to the apex, to become a faded blue ornament hanging delicately in the warm night sky.

hope said...

Ah Jimmy, should've known the hidden romantic in you would know all about the moon. :) Would that knowledge span to things like geography as well? I'm working on the family tree and it appears some of the family originally came from Scotland!

Titus: as soon as I read that I was thinking my Moonkin NEEDED to know, if he didn't already. :) Yep, the things I learn when I'm not expecting to. Funny thing is, I seem to be "wrapped up in the moon" this week as I'm listening to a book on CD with the actual recordings of all the NASA astronaut flights. Next up on the reading pile is a book by the Mission Control Flight Director, Gene Kranz, who I thought was the voice of God. And then on the field trip I did get to stop long enough to see the hook used to bring Apollo 8 aboard the USS Yorktown, whose deck I was standing on!

Ponita, I have mentally threatened the Weather Man if he calls for my blue skies to cloud up before midnight! And to be truthful, the Scottish reference is for one of Titus' sons, who shares my love of the moon.

JeannetteLS said...

The science is fascinating, but I prefer the magic. It's sheer magic.

hope said...

Jeanette, I know what you mean!

And I had to use my imagination as clouds rolled in and covered the whole show!

Now I'll have to take my vitamins to wait again until 2029.