Tonight we will experience the first of three supermoons.  The other two will occur on August 10th and September 9th.

The scientific term for the phenomenon is “perigee moon.” Full Moons vary in size because of the oval shape of the Moon’s orbit. The Moon follows an elliptical path around Earth with one side (“perigee”) about 50,000 km closer than the other (“apogee”).  Full Moons that occur on the perigee side of the Moon’s orbit seem extra big and bright.

This coincidence happens three times in 2014.  On July 12th and Sept 9th the Moon becomes full on the same day as perigee.  On August 10th it becomes full during the same hour as perigee—arguably making it an extra-super Moon.

The illusion occurs when the Moon is near the horizon.  For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, low-hanging Moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects. When the Moon illusion amplifies a perigee Moon, the swollen orb rising in the east at sunset can seem super indeed.

12 Comments CherryPie on Jul 12th 2014

12 Responses to “Perigee Moon”

  1. rusty duck says:

    That’s interesting, although with all the cloud down here tonight I doubt we will see anything. Hopefully in August!

    • CherryPie says:

      Disappointingly cloudy here…

      We did however enjoy the moon yesterday evening whilst sittin in my Mum’s conservatory. It was particularly bright and beautiful. I should have taken a photo of it when I got back home.

  2. Anne says:

    Missed it ..was talking about it with guests at my friends b and b…I was too tired to remember time maybe :-)

  3. Astrid says:

    Clouds all over and we have to wait until August.
    I always LOVE the moon, in the morning when I go to work, sometimes it smiles at me :)

    • CherryPie says:

      We have to wait until August too, for that second chance ;-)

      In the winter months I love the sight of the moon next to my Oak Tree :-)

  4. Amfortas says:

    Yep, the clouds were unusually near the ground. It happens every so often. But I live on a mountain ! I will note the next time. :)

  5. I saw the super moon in the West Country!

  6. ubermouth says:

    I saw the moon whilst driving home one night with a friend. We both said at the exact same time,” Look at that moon!” :)