Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tonight, Biggest Full Moon of the Year

If you are someone who likes to watch the sky and gaze at the stars and the moon, you might be interested to know that the moon this weekend will be the biggest full moon of the year. It is what is known as a "perigee Moon".

What's a perigee moon? Science-Nasa explains it well: The Moon's orbit around Earth is not a circle; it is an ellipse, with one side 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other. Astronomers call the point of closest approach "perigee," and that is where the Moon will be this weekend, in fact, tonight, Jan 10.

Perigee full moons come along once or twice a year. 2008 ended with one in Dec (biggest full moon in 2008) and now 2009 is beginning with another. So, grab your camera and snap the biggest moon of the year tonight wherever you may be.

The picture below from Science.NASA, was taken in Dec 2008 by photographer Eric Ingmundson of Sparta, Wisconsin. The perigee moon was over a neighbour's farm. Look how big the moon was. Perigee moons can be 14% wider and 30% brighter than lesser Moons we see other times of the year.

Here is a picture from, taken last night on the Kolyskia peninsula in Russia, a blast of moonlight pierced the clouds and produced a 22deg ice halo. Ice halos are formed when tiny ice crystals in the atmosphere refract and reflect light.

Take some pictures of the perigee moon tonight and share the beauty on your blog. Better yet, drop me a comment here so that I can put together a collection and share the beauty of the perigee moon from around the world. How's that, eh? Your site will be linked back.


  1. hi happysurfer, ill go catch it - hope i can. if i do, will let u know :) btw thanks much for sharing :)

  2. I just went out to watch the moon. Is it supposed to look bigger? I didn't find it bigger or anything special, maybe just a little bit brighter than usual : )

  3. Anonymous7:58 AM

    Oops..I missed it.

  4. QC, so, did you?

    Foong, was it brighter? Well, what I read said perigee moon is supposed to be 14% wider so I guess it must be true except that it is way too far for us to tell, eh?

    MBL, nevermind. There are worse things in life. Besides, you could be involved in something more fun.

  5. was cloudy and couldnt see the moon but my family member overseas saw it - says its really beautiful. ill check again today (hope it didnt shrink too much) :)

  6. QC, LOL, you are funny. It won't shrink. It just won't be so close to Earth as it moves away on its elliptical orbit.

  7. haha hey btw i caught the moon today. it was also cloudy but today i waited for a while till the clouds disappeared. and yes its bigger than usual. i missed yesterday - that was a pity. but at least i saw today :) once again, thanks for the info, klhappysurfer! :)

  8. Wow! Glad you caught it, QC. If the clouds had disappeared, it would have been a nicer moon that yesterday's. I'm working on the post now.