When a full moon occurs, our hearts run wild and our moods shift from extreme sadness to joy and ecstasy. Everyone loves a full moon when it appears, although most of the times it brings some disturbing astronomical effects, one way or another. A full moon, as we all know, happens once in a month and they seem to never wear out their welcome.
However, a full moon is nothing like the supermoon, which is a special time, when the most mysterious celestial body comes extremely close to the Earth. Normally, a full moon is when the sun, Earth and moon line up, all with the Earth in the middle.
As the Earth is constantly revolving around the sun and the moon continuously revolves around the Earth, a full moon is an instantaneous event which occurs when the moon is basically opposite the sun. This week, the alignment happens at 2:35 p.m., on Saturday, August 29.
Skywatchers seem to be most interested in the perigee, namely the time and date when the moon is closest to Earth. This very month, the perigee will happen 18 hours after the full moon. At that particular time, the moon will be 222.631 miles away from Earth.
At a Full Moon we will also notice how the denser atmosphere near the horizon squeezes the lunar disk into a hamburger shape. This phenomenon is caused by an atmospheric reaction. Furthermore, air closest to the horizon refracts more strongly compared to air near the top edge of the Moon, basically “lifting” the bottom of the Moon up into the top. Furthermore, we will get to see the nearside maria or “seas” at full phase, while rayed craters such as Tycho and Copernicus will come into their full glory, looking for world like giant spatters of white paint. The entire picture will be seen with the naked eye.
The perigee distance is less than 223.690 miles. When the moon gets this close, its most important effect on the Earth usually gets stronger. Another important thing that needs to be taken into account is that on the day of the perigee and three days following, Earth will have larger tides than usual.
Next month we will have a harvest moon, called that way as it rises around sunset on several successive nights, offering farmers extra light in the evening in order to bring their harvests.
Image Source: zmescience.com