One of the cool things about having a Michigan photo group with nearly 200,000 photos to draw from is that I can find a photo for pretty much any post. Thanks all of you who share in the Absolute Michigan photo group!
We in astronomy used to call them perigean new moons or perigean full moons, that is, new or full moons closely coinciding with perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth in its orbit. But, in accordance with the rapidly evolving skylore of the modern world, we now enjoy calling them supermoons. The name supermoon was coined by an astrologer, Richard Nolle, over 30 years ago. It was popularized and came to be the accepted term for most people only in the past few years.
Are supermoons hype? In our opinion … gosh, no, just modern folklore. And they can cause real physical effects, such as larger-than-usual tides. The year 2014 has a total of five supermoons. They are the two new moons of January, and the full moons of July, August and September. Next supermoon: July 12.
Read on for more about tonight’s supermoon and supermoons in general.
Of course, the supermoon isn’t the only natural phenomenon enjoying hype this weekend, because our old friend the Polar Vortex is returning for an encore. Or not, according to Dr Jeff Masters of Weather Underground in the Freep:
It is not, however, the second coming of a polar vortex, something the National Weather Service says it regrets tweeting earlier this week.
Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters says the weather pattern is similar to those dreaded words, but the key difference is that the chilly air mass isn’t coming directly from the arctic.
Masters says that Typhoon Neoguri in Japan altered the path of the jet stream and allowed polar air to spill out of Canada. That means next week’s temperatures will be as much as 15 degrees cooler than normal in the Midwest and could reach 90 in the normally temperate Pacific Northwest.
More at the Freep and also check out mLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa’s take on the battle between El Nino and the Polar Vortex. He talks about El Nino’s chances to push the jet stream northward. If it’s not strong enough, winter 2015 could be ruled by the polar vortex again. Go El Nino, Go El Nino!