Hunters’ Moon

We discussed solar cycles and Halloween, it seems only fair to enjoy the wonders of lunar cycles too. An interesting update in the mailbox this morning. OK, I confess to being a subscriber to Dr Tony Phillips’ Spaceweather channel 😉

This week’s full Moon is the biggest full Moon of 2007. It’s no illusion. Some full Moons are genuinely larger than others and tonight’s will be a whopper. Why? Because, the Moon’s orbit is an ellipse with one side 30,000 miles closer to Earth than the other. The full Moon of Oct. 25-26 is located on the near side, making it appear as much as 14% bigger and 30% brighter than lesser full Moons we’ve seen earlier in 2007.

In the language of astronomy, the two ends of the Moon’s orbit are called “apogee” and “perigee.” Apogee is the farthest point, perigee the nearest. This week’s full Moon is a “perigee Moon” with extra-high “perigean tides.” The Moon is 14% bigger, but can you actually tell the difference?

Incidentally, the October full moon is also known as Hunters’ Moon. Hails from Northern Europe, where with the leaves falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt. Since the fields have been reaped, hunters can easily see fox and the animals which have come out to glean. More references to full moon names courtesy of the Farmers’ Almanac.

Want more on the moon? View phases of the moon for any date from the 19th to the 22nd centuries in virtual world 🙂

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