The full moon is coming! Humans beware, for it’s no ordinary full moon, it’s a SUPER MOON! Super werewolf time! If you’re like me then you have seen the photo on the right pop up on your Facebook feed at least once, and to be my blunt self, the photo is bullshit. That’s right my lovelies, the whole “super moon” meme is ridiculous. The full moon on June 23rd will look like every other full moon. See the explanation below.
Astronomer Paul Plait explained it better than I ever could (…obviously, seeing how I am not an astronomer). Here’s what he had to say (prepare yourself for some science):
“… When the Moon is closest to Earth in its orbit we call it perigee, and apogee when it’s farthest. These happen once per lunar orbit, of course, about 13 times per year each. This year, the average perigee distance is about 363,000 kilometers (225,000 miles), and the average apogee distance about 405,000 km (251,000 miles)
But those are averages; the actual numbers month by month are all a bit different. The full Moon on June 23 will occur when the Moon is just a hair under 357,000 km (221,300 miles) away, the closest perigee of the year. The phase of the Moon and its distance from Earth are not connected in any way; a full Moon can happen when the Moon is at apogee, perigee, or any point in between. It so happens this June 23 full Moon occurs just 20 minutes after perigee, so it really is about as close as it can get.
So does this mean the Moon will look huger and brillianter in the sky? Not really. Last month, the full Moon happened when it was just over 358,000 kilometers away—only a little bit farther (by about 1 percent) than it will be this month. Even if you compared last month’s full Moon with this month’s “Supermoon” side-by-side you’d hardly notice it; you’d never notice the difference just by going out one month to look, waiting a month, and looking again.
Heck, the difference between the two extremes of apogee and perigee is only about 40,000 km (25,000 miles)—about a 10-15 percent difference overall, making the Moon look 10-15 percent bigger at perigee. Even that wouldn’t be spotted by eye (source).”
What have we learned today? That the internet is a filthy liar. We won’t see any difference in this full moon than past full moons. Also, I learned that I need to rethink taking that astronomy class next year.