Good Night Moon

March 19, 2011

Torah Kachur

A new word has entered into our vocabulary today (it's not the ridiculous sounding Operation Odyssey Dawn) - perigee. Perigee is the point in the orbit of an object (like a satellite) orbiting the earth that is nearest to the center of the earth. In other words the moon is about to crash into Earth... aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh......  (cue Bruce Willis).  




The moon has an elliptical orbit and it varies year by year, meaning this will be the biggest moon in the past 20 years and it will sit about 356,577 kilometers away from earth. The average distance of the moon from earth is 385,000 kilometers, making tonight's moon larger than normal, but the 15% larger size will likely be unnoticeable to the casual observer.  So even though you might want to pop out for a midnight snog with your loved one in hopes that everything looks 15% larger tonight, unfortunately you are out of luck. 


Supermoon Moon orbit Perigee Science in Seconds


The moon will appear brighter though, and if you have hopes of shooting the moon - with your camera - there are a few lighting lessons for you to learnThe moon is brighter than you think so drop that shutter speed, use a tripod and give the picture context by including a tree, car, building or something else in the frame.


What makes this one even more special is that this rare super perigee also falls on the full moon (cue Jacob Black).  It takes 28 days for a moon to complete its cycle, even though we are stupid and make our months 30-31 days long.  Nature acts on moon cycles with tides, migrations and a woman's gift acting on 28-day rhythms. 


So tonight, tear yourself away from March Madness or a terrible movie at the Cineplex (cue Martin Lawrence), take a peek at the Man in the Moon and make a wish. 


My wish?  To stop people like Ann Coulter, Jenny McCarthy and Mark Paquette from talking about science.  Actually, just stop them from talking.  And instead, let the scientists do the talking.  <3 Bob McDonald



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