Super ‘Tiny’ Moon

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By Stephen Gode on December 4, 2012, 1:56pm Last modified: December 5, 2012, 9:33am

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This is old news, but the last full moon was a bit different than it was last year during the ‘Supermoon’ (these are not technical astronomical names). The image above is the 'Supermoon' of March 19, 2011 (right) compared to a more average Moon of December 20, 2010 (left), as viewed from Earth (source from Wikipedia). The "Super 'Tiny' Moon" would be about the same percentage difference between the above two, but a smaller percentage of the left-side Moon above.

The term “SuperMoon” was thought of by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979, “A new or full moon which occurs with the Moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit (perigee). In short, Earth, Moon and Sun are all in a line, with Moon in its nearest approach to Earth.” The March 19, 2011 ‘Supermoon’ was the last time the full moon approached so close to Earth since 1993 (221,566 miles away from Earth). The March 2011 ‘Supermoon’ was about 20 percent brighter and 15 percent bigger than a regular full moon. The ‘Supermoon’ is the largest and brightest full Moon of the year. The May 6, 2012 ‘Supermoon’ was about 14 percent larger than the regular Full Moon in 2012, which is not really even noticeable (221,807 miles away from Earth). The ‘Supermoon’ coincides with perigean spring tides that causes tidal force just a bit stronger (tidal differences just inches). The close approach of the Moon and its full phase coincide about every 412 days.

The “Super ‘Tiny’ Moon” is less known and it is the opposite of the ‘Supermoon.’ The “Super ‘Tiny’ Moon” can be up to about 14 percent smaller and 30 percent less bright than a regular Full Moon (opposite of the ‘Supermoon’). On November 28, 2012, the Full Moon occurred within four hours of its furthest distance from the Earth (about 252,508 miles away from Earth). The Moon’s furthest distance from Earth is known as Apogee. “Super ‘Tiny’ Moon” was coined by Kris McCall, Director of the Sudekum Planetarium in Nashville, TN.

Were you able to even tell the difference between the last Full Moon and a typical Full Moon, as some refer to its Apogee as the “Super ‘Tiny’ Moon,” without being influenced by the “Moon Illusion?”

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Stephen Gode

Town: North Haven, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since September 2012.

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