- - - picture: Extreme 'Supermoon' biggest brightest best in 18 yrs - -



Sunday, May 6, 2012

Extreme 'Supermoon' biggest brightest best in 18 yrs


Our Universe
Extreme 'Supermoon' biggest brightest best in eighteen years 
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 20 March, 2011 : - - A fluke of orbital mechanics brought the moon closer to Earth than it has been in more than 18 years. The biggest full moon of 2011 occurred this Saturday. Observers have dubbed it a 'supermoon.' On Saturday 19 March 2011 at 19h00 GMT, the moon arrived at its closest point to the Earth in 2011: a distance of 221,565 miles (356,575 kilometers) away. Fifty minutes earlier, the moon was officially full.
At its peak, the 'Supermoon' appeared 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than lesser full moons. The moon has not been in a position to appear this large since March 1993. Although a full moon theoretically lasts just a moment, that moment is imperceptible to ordinary observation.

During the day or so before and after, most speak of seeing the nearly full moon as "full," with the actual shaded area of the lunar surface being so narrow – and changing in apparent width so slowly – that it is hard for the naked eye to tell whether it's present, or which side it is.
The coincidence of Saturday’s full moon with perigee resulted in a dramatically large range of high and low tides. The highest tides do not coincide with the perigee moon but will actually lag by up to a few days depending on the specific coastal location. Such extreme tide is known as a 'perigean spring tide', the word spring being derived from the German springen – to "spring up."
In contrast, later this year, on October 11, the full moon will closely coincide with apogee, its farthest point from the Earth.  In fact, on that night the moon will appear 12.3 percent smaller than it will appear this weekend.

When the perigee moon lies close to the horizon, it can appear absolutely enormous. That is when the famous “moon illusion” combines with reality to produce a truly stunning view. For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, a low-hanging moon looks incredibly large when hovering near trees, buildings and other foreground objects.
The fact that the moon is much closer than usual this weekend only serves to amplify this strange effect. A perigee moon, either rising in the east at sunset or dropping down in the west at sunrise might seem to make the moon appear so close that it almost appears that you could touch it.

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