PERIGEE FULL MOON (SUPERMOON) JUNE 22 & 23 – HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.
Photo By: Mike Oria (More links and a video below): http://mikeoria.zenfolio.com/p52860390/h32a8130a#h32a8130a
So here comes the 2013 Perigee Full Moon or as it’s been called the last couple years, the Super Moon (Nobody calls it the Proxigean Moon anymore, poor Proxigean Moon. The Moon will reach full phase on June 23 at 1132 UTC (0732 EDT) which are daylight hours so what’s that mean?…..Well, for the Moon to be full it has to be opposite the Sun so that means that when the Sun rises on the 23rd the Moon will probably be below the horizon in the west or close to it, and when the Sun sets the Moon will be breaking the eastern horizon. That’s why 2 dates have been given because if you see the almost Full Moon on the night of the 22nd it will be just as full on the night of the 23rd. Many areas will actually be able to witness the instant of the Moon going into Full Phase such as the west coast of the U.S., southern tip of South America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, most of the South Pacific Islands and Hawaii. Just as a note to safety, be mindful that tides for the surrounding few days will be larger than normal. Mind you that were not talking tsunamis here but if you pay attention you can notice the difference.
We all know that there are two parts to a Perigee Full Moon; 1) a Full Moon and 2) a Perigee Moon (As close as the Moon gets to Earth in its 29.5 day synodic cycle) and that just happens to fall right around 1111 UTC (0711 EDT) on the 23rd of June so it really is almost spot on with the Full Moon. At that time it will be at a distance of only 221,823 miles (356,989 km) from Earth which makes it the closest point the Moon will come to Earth all year, Full Moon or not. Subsequently, two weeks later when the Moon reaches apogee, it will be the furthest that it gets from Earth not only for the cycle but for the year at a distance of about 252,581 miles (406,490 km) from Earth.
The Perigee Moon will be about 14% larger and 30% brighter than an Apogee Full Moon but even that is truly difficult to notice even to those of us who see this phase almost every month. Those who don’t usually take time to see a Full Moon on a regular basis will next week, go outside and be amazed but truth be told, if you go outside at night at an average dark location the normal Full Moon is so bright you can walk around outside without a flashlight and see shadows and colors of objects quite easily, especially after you have dark adapted for a few minutes. So don’t expect to look skyward and see an event that looks much different than normal BUT if you have the ability to watch it break the horizon as it rises or sets it is always a spectacle as the density in the Earths atmosphere discolors it giving the illusion of an extremely large (Yep that’s just an illusion), orange, red, pink or off white Moon; I never get tired of seeing those.
It’s worth noting here that this months Perigee Full Moon may be the biggest and closest of 2013 but in the following few years it will get even closer and larger. August 10, 2014 at a distance of (356,896 km) / September 28, 2015 at a distance of (356,877 km) / November 14, 2016 at a distance of (356,509 km).
Historically (and still today) astronomers call a Full Moon that lands on the night of perigee a Perigee Moon though due to the title Super Moon catching on many of us (amateur astronomers etc.) also tend to call it a Super Moon to relate to the masses who don’t call it Perigee Moon (Or even know what perigee is). The term Super Moon comes not from science but from astrology; more specifically, astrologer Richard Nolle who coined the phrase and set guidelines that state any NEW or FULL Moon within 90% of perigee is a Super Moon though I’ve never seen the internet light up with promises of a Super Moon during a New Moon phase. So there you go, and it’s not even a big deal as either way it’s encouraging people who otherwise wouldn’t be looking up to do so and that is certainly a good thing. If you have questions, as always please ask. If I don’t know I will find the answer and get back to you.
Each month I supply what I call the Lunar Calendar or Monthly Moon Calendar on the blog. It’s loaded with everything you want to know about the Moon for the coming month. If you frequent my blog http://www.DanSpace77.com just scroll down the right side and look for “Lunar Calendar – Moon Monthly” under the CATEGORIES column. Here is the link for June 2013 that I posted: http://danspace77.com/2013/06/01/lunar-calendar-for-june-2013/
Here’s a quick link for reference on this months Super Perigee Full Moon-Thing from Earth Sky who always do great work: http://earthsky.org/tonight/is-biggest-and-closest-full-moon-on-june-23-2013-a-supermoon
Here’s another great article from Universe Today about these events: http://www.universetoday.com/102763/what-is-a-super-moon/
NASA LRO 2013 Lunar Animation: