© 2011 Hilda Perez

This is the super “perigee moon” — the biggest in almost 20 years, taken last month on March. This celestial event is far rarer than the famed blue moon, which happens once about every two and a half years. The last full moon so big and close to Earth occurred in March of 1993.
Full moons look different because of the elliptical shape of the moon’s orbit. When it’s at perigee, the moon is about 31,000 miles (50,000 km) closer to Earth than when it’s at the farthest point of its orbit, also known as apogee.

Nearby perigee moons are about 14% bigger and 30% brighter than lesser moons that occur on the apogee side of the moon’s orbit. This full moon rises in the east at sunset and looks especially big at that time because of what’s known as the “moon illusion.” 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, according to NASA.

© 2011 Hilda Perez



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