Friday, December 12, 2008

Big Moon Tonight

National Geographic tells us tonight's moon will appear the biggest it has in a while. It doesn't look like most of us in Humboldt will get to see it according to the weather forecast. Then again, you never know.


At 8:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterday on the way home from school my son was shocked when he saw the moon. "Why is it so big ?!". The only explanation I could offer was "It seems larger when it's close to the horizon."

At 8:36 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Well, at least you didn't attribute the apparent size to global warming.

But seriously, that article actually seems to back up what you said:

The moon's apparent larger size might be most noticeable as it rises above the horizon at sunset.

That's when an optical illusion usually comes into play that makes the full moon seem larger—set against familiar Earthly objects—than when it's higher in the empty sky.

I'm wondering if that's what was happening years ago when I saw my largest moon ever?

A couple of friends and I were backpacking in Yosemite. We were up at, I believe, Ireland Lake. It was a ways up above Little Yosemite Valley.

The first night we were there the sunset was amazing. The entire sky was orange. The moon was the biggest I'd ever seen, sitting just above a nearby peak. I swear it looked like it was a couple feet wide in the sky. Maybe bigger.

It was really something to see and I've never seen anything like it since.

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Kym said...

The reason it looks so big is because it is at its perigee --closest point to the earth all year and this is the closest in 15 years.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Yes. That is what the National Geographic article explains. That, plus the "optical illusion" I referred to above.

At 2:53 PM, Blogger samoasoftball said...

"The moon is falling! Everyone duck!"

At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred, perhaps it was Big Foot that was mooning you?

At 8:06 AM, Blogger Carol said...

The moonlight has been glorious this week.


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