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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Super Full Moon a Distance of Rare Beauty

According to Science News of Nasa, on March 19th, a full Moon of rare size and beauty will rise in the east at sunset. It's a super "perigee moon"--the biggest in almost 20 years.

Full Moons vary in size because of the oval shape of the Moon's orbit. It is an ellipse with one side (perigee) about 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other (apogee): diagram. Nearby perigee moons are about 14% bigger and 30% brighter than lesser moons that occur on the apogee side of the Moon's orbit.

"The full Moon of March 19th occurs less than one hour away from perigee--a near-perfect coincidence1 that happens only 18 years or so," says Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory in Washington DC. "I'd say it's worth a look."

Even a super perigee Moon is still 356,577 km away. That is, it turns out, a distance of rare beauty.

See the ScienceCast of this story on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1yalg_Apdw

If it failed to download, click here:Download video

Download MP3 supermoon story, click here:Download audio