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Smallest Moon Of The Year

by Rod Hill

Bio | Email | Follow: @kgwrodhill

Posted on November 28, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 28 at 2:05 PM

Do you remember last May 5th, when we told you about the "Super Full Moon?"  The story that day was your chance to see what appeared to be the largest full moon of the year, as the moon made it's closest pass to earth.  The close position of 221,705 miles from earth is called the perigee. 

Today, November 28, the moon will make it's farthest pass from earth at 252,503 miles.  This most distant position, called the apogee will happen at 11:35 a.m. PST.   This distant passing is called by some the "Super Tiny Moon," as the moon may appear slightly smaller than usual.  The moon was full this morning at 6:46 a.m.   Of course, today's cloud cover will take away our viewing opportunity. 

It is interesting to note that the large size of the moon near the horizon is a trick our eyes play, called the moon illusion.  The illusion is a matter of perception, a trick the brain plays.  When the moon is seen along the horizon, the brain perceives the object to be farther away and will make it appear larger in size.  When an object is perceived to be nearer, the brain may compensate by making it look smaller to us.  This smaller perception is what we see when the moon is overhead, high in the sky.

Moonrise today at 4:23 this afternoon.

Rod Hill

Courtesy:  Jim Todd, OMSI Director of Space Science Education