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11.1.09

Did you see the moon?

You know how sometimes the moon seems huge, and other times it's just a point of light high in the sky? Last night, Jan. 10th, was a perigee Moon - the biggest full Moon of 2009. Did you see it?


This is a slide show of the 101 photos posted on Flickr that have been tagged with "perigee" and "full" and "Moon", licensed under the Creative Commons.


Dr. Tony Phillips at NASA explains why the moon seems to change size:
"Johannes Kepler explained the phenomenon 400 years ago. The Moon's orbit around Earth is not a circle; it is an ellipse, with one side 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other. Astronomers call the point of closest approach "perigee," and that is where the Moon will be this weekend.

"Perigee full Moons come along once or twice a year. 2008 ended with one and now 2009 is beginning with another.
"(A)magic moment happens when the perigee Moon is near the horizon. That is when illusion mixes with reality to produce a truly stunning view. For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, low-hanging Moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects." (link)