Sap Moon, Worm Moon, Super Moon

Wolf Moon over the Lake

Wolf Moon over the Lake, photo by Michelle Dion ~.

NASA explains that tonight (March 19, 2011) a full Moon of rare size and beauty will rise in the east at sunset – a super “perigee moon” – the biggest in almost 20 years:

“The last full Moon so big and close to Earth occurred in March of 1993,” says Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory in Washington DC. “I’d say it’s worth a look.”

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): diagram. Nearby perigee moons are about 14% bigger and 30% brighter than lesser moons that occur on the apogee side of the Moon’s orbit.

…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. On March 19th, why not let the “Moon illusion” amplify a full Moon that’s extra-big to begin with? The swollen orb rising in the east at sunset may seem so nearby, you can almost reach out and touch it.

You watch the explanation on YouTube and read about the full moon on Wikipedia, where names listed for this month’s moon include Crow Moon, Crust Moon, Sugar Moon, Sap Moon, Chaste Moon and (sadly appropriate) Death Moon.

Check this out bigger and in Michelle’s My Favorite 27 slideshow.

Step out, look up, breathe.

6 thoughts on “Sap Moon, Worm Moon, Super Moon

  1. I’m looking forward to the “super” moon. It’ll be a site to see. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate.

    With regard to why the moon is large on the horizon is
    because of the physical reference points, like trees and hills, that are in our line of sight. One of my old physics professors said if you look at the moon between your legs when it’s large on the horizon, it will appear as the same size when its high in the sky. I tried it, and my professor was right.

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    1. No it definitely wasn’t photoshopped. I was in Chicago in a plane delayed on the runway, looked out the window, and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The moon was rising. It was surreal. The biggest moon I’ve ever seen. I took as many pics as possible before the plane took off. If you want to see them give me your email address. The moon was huge and red and then turned yellow.

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