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Don't always believe what you hear.
We have received hundreds of e-mails over the last week about how the moon is going to
be super big and bright. Brighter than it has been in this century, brighter than in
the last 133 years.
The moon does appear a bit bigger and brighter right now. Some of the details of
those E-Mails that you have received are true.
- The part about the moon being at or near perigee or closer is true.
- The part about the earth and sun being closer at this time of year is true.
- The part about the Solstice and Full moon being on the same day is true, at least for
most of the world, just not here in California where they fall on different days.
But here are the facts:
- The solstice and full moon are not happening at the same time, but are separated by much
of the day. This has happened quite often. And, it really does not effect the
brightness or size of the moon.
- Perigee and full moon come close to each other with some regularity too. This
always gives us a bigger and brighter moon
- The earth and sun will be at their closest point in a January, not right now, although
we are closer than much of the year.
Sky and Telescope has done the math. Have a look for yourself.
Now, that being said. The big bright full moon is very nice right now. Take
the opportunity to go for a moonlit hike. Have a moonwatching party. Enjoy the
night sky. Look up!
Tim "the moon guy"