Friday, October 06, 2006

Big Fat Moon

That big, fat moon is gonna shine like a spoon,
But we're gonna let it,
You won't regret it.
-Bob Dylan, "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight"
This is not one of Dylan's most profound or original lyrics, but tonight it's really true. Today the Moon is at perigee (closest point in its orbit), and tonight's full Moon will also be the Harvest Moon (the full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox). Because it is also so close to perigee, the full Moon's apparent size will be 12% larger than that of the apogee (maximum distance) full Moon of February 2006 (here's a visual comparison). This article explains all this (and more) in some detail. This NASA article from 2005 talks about the Harvest Moon with a Martian spin, and this more recent one discusses some interesting things about the light from the Moon.

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