Big Moon Tonight

March 20, 2011 by staff 

Big Moon Tonight, Look! High in the sky! At: 25 p.m. today! To the east! Moon is Great! If the full moon tonight looks a little bigger, your eyes are not deceiving you. Weather permitting, sky gazers will see inside a moon perigee – near its closest point to Earth in the lunar orbit oval. There is the added attraction to coincide with the phase of full moon, a combination that occurs about every 18 years.

The nearest point of the moon to the Earth actually occurs about four hours earlier than the rising of the moon for that region, “said Chris Clarke, San Bernardino Valley College Planetarium specialist.

NASA says it will be the largest moon perigee full since March 1993 and is about 14 percent and 30 percent brighter than when the moon is at apogee, or farthest point of its orbit.

Full moon tonight is a little short of perfect perigee.

“To the trained eye, the full moon will be a teensy bit more,” said Clarke.

“It’s 221.000 miles from the perigee to the apogee 252,000.”

He said that the moon extra large increase, which appears on the horizon “is the moon illusion. It always seems more at moonrise, because we interpret it against objects in the foreground said Clarke. Effect of the moon on the tides perigee is a minor, according to NASA. Perigee tides generally amount to about an inch more than the usual. The local geography may increase by only about six inches some places, not yet a threat of flooding.

Despite the popular traditions and rumors on the Internet, the moons of perigee, full or otherwise, are not harbingers of a catastrophe.

These are predictable events, Clarke said, and if they brought the dangerous tides or earthquakes that could not be dismissed as a coincidence, it would be well documented to date.

“What is quite common – people see it as extraordinary,” said Clarke. “You hate to deflate, but the pace celestial how it works. But if it becomes a person to watch the moon and see something beyond the Earth, it’s a good thing. “

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