Beautiful Moon

Has anyone else noticed that the moon looks particularly beautiful tonight? No, there's nothing in the air, and it's not because that girl/ boy at work/ school has finally noticed you in the corridors. That full moon really is around 30% brighter and about 14% bigger* than any other full moons that you've seen for a while, or will see for at least another year.

Why's that?
The moon is currently at perigee, which is the point in an object's orbit around the Earth at which it is closest to the Earth**. This happens once a month, but the moon can be in different phases of its cycle when that happens. Every now and then, it happens when the moon is full, and that really gives us something to look at.

But that's not all...
The moon being at perigee and being full is a nice enough coincidence on its own, but there's another that we can take advantage of. Near to the current astounding full moon, you should be able to see a bright, noticeably red/orange star. Well, it's not a star: It's Mars, and it's at opposition. This is when Mars is on the opposite side of the Earth to the Sun, which means that Mars and Earth are about as close as they get. This, of course, means that Mars also looks bigger and brighter in the sky

The photo above is, for once, one I took myself. It's my first attempt at moon photography with my Nikon D60 DSLR camera (with its supplied lens), so I'm not too upset with it! The moon is fairly obvious, but you can also see Mars making an appearance towards the top of the image.




* In all honesty, it's not really something that you'll notice with the naked eye, but it's a pretty decent excuse to go outside, look at the sky and think about what's going on up there... and maybe take a picture or two.
**The opposite of this point, the furthest that a body is from the Earth during an orbit, is called 'apogee'.

Comments

  1. I'm impressed with that pic!!

    Emily said to me last night before it was even fully dark, "The moon is really bright tonight Mummy!". Now I can tell her why.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you both!

    And Jenstie: Glad to be of service!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've been plagiarised! A website called skylook.net has posted this post as its own!

    ReplyDelete

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