Friday, May 4, 2012

A 'Super' Full Moon? (Sure, why not?)

The Full Moon, May's "Flower Moon" of lore, occurs at 03:38 UT, Sunday Morning, May 6, or roughly 11:38 pm in the U.S. Eastern time zone, in the waning minutes of May 5. This will be the closest Full Moon of 2012, occurring near a distance shy of 354,000 kilometers. We're ambivalent about references to this being a "Super Moon," which it really isn't. Full Moon's are not even the best time to observe the Moon's anatomy. On the other hand anything that compels humans to step out and really "see" our under-appreciated natural satellite, beyond artificial lights, smart phones and televisions can't really be a bad thing. 

Alan MacRobert
Sky & Telescope

"The superstitious among us should beware of extra-big werewolves this weekend," warns Time magazine. For some reason, the world's news media are all aflutter over Saturday night's full Moon.

May is the month this year when full Moon occurs closest to perigee, the point where the Moon is closest to Earth in its monthly orbit. But the Moon will be only 8% closer and larger than average. That's not enough to notice unless you're an awfully careful moon-watcher. Or use measuring tools.

And, this full Moon will shine only 0.16 magnitude brighter than average. That's only slightly more of a brightness difference than a skilled variable-star observer can just detect.
Read the article HERE.

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