In the sky: the perigee Moon

A comparison of the full Moon at perigee with an average full Moon. Credit: Marcoaliaslama (Wikipedia).

A comparison of the full Moon at perigee with an average full Moon. Credit: Marcoaliaslama (Wikipedia).

It’s that time of year again. Time for another round of stories to circulate about the alleged “supermoon”–if by “super” you really mean the Moon’s at perigee.

Perigee is the point where the Moon is at the closest point in its orbit to Earth. Since the Moon’s orbit is pretty close to a nice, neat ellipse, this happens every month. It happens during the full Moon (give or take a day or so) once a year, which the Internet has unilaterally decided to call the “supermoon“.

This year’s perigee Moon comes this Sunday, June 23. (Perigee comes 41 days later each year, since the Moon’s orbit isn’t quite a nice, neat ellipse.) Since it’s closer to Earth than usual, the full Moon will appear 7% larger and 14% brighter than average. And in the most “super” effect, tides could be as much as 18% high than average for a full Moon.

That’s not very super, but you should still go and check out the Moon this weekend because the Moon is pretty cool. After all, it’s the only place in space we’ve sent people to.

But while you do, please be considerate of the astronomers.

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About Alex R. Howe

I'm a full-time astrophysicist and a part-time science fiction writer.
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