Sky Show Dec. 12: Biggest, Brightest Full Moon of 2008

<< Back to Page 1   Page 2 of 2

"This would result in extra-large tides in regions that are susceptible to them, like Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy." (See map.)

Features in the Bay of Fundy create a sloshing wave action that, in the bay's funneled and tapered basin, give rise to vast tidal ranges.

But even in such places, the effects of perigee are often modest, in most cases measurable in inches. But perigee tides can be higher if there happens to be a storm surge at the same time.

Observing the effects of perigee on the moon itself can be a bit trickier. Most casual observers may only notice a difference in the moon's brightness, Burress 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.

"This combination of the moon illusion and close perigee gives sky-watchers a chance to see the biggest and fullest moonrise possible," Burress said.

What makes this event particularly nice, the Griffith Observatory's Krupp added, is that everyone around the world can witness it without the need for special equipment, just clear skies.

"If you are charmed by the idea of seeing the biggest and brightest full moon visible in 15 years, be ready to go outside at sunset and watch for the rising moon in the east," he said.

"Or stay up all night and watch as the moon rides through the overhead skies—either way it will be a beautiful sight."

<< Back to Page 1   Page 2 of 2


SOURCES AND RELATED WEB SITES

ADVERTISEMENT

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC'S PHOTO OF THE DAY

NEWS FEEDS     After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.   After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS

National Geographic Daily News To-Go

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.
Click here to get 12 months of National Geographic Magazine for $15.