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Friday, December 12, 2008

SkyWatch Friday..Big Moon Tonight!!

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There's a full moon tonight, and it's going to be a big one !

LOOK UP! LOOK UP !! Step out EARLY this EVENING and view our behemoth moon! It's hard to explain why the moon tonight will look so much larger near the horizon, than later in the night as it rises higher into the sky. The Salt Lake Tribune has a quick explanation in today's paper:

"Lunar show will be largest since 1993"

By Sheena Mcfarland
The Salt Lake Tribune

Updated: 12/12/2008 06:28:27 AM MST

"Those looking up tonight will see the biggest full moon the Earth has seen since 1993.
To best view the effect, look at the moon while it's on the horizon line, when "illusion will mix with reality to produce a truly stunning view," according to Tony Phillips, Science@NASA's production editor.
"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. The swollen orb rising in the east at sunset may seem so nearby, you can almost reach out and touch it," he writes on the Science@NASA Web site. The moon's proximity to Earth also will affect tides, pulling the tide higher than normal by between about
an inch and 6 inches. Every month, the oblong lunar orbit brings the moon closer to Earth, but this month the moon is full just four hours after hitting perigee. That means it will be 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than any other full moon this year. The full moon at perigee won't occur again until 2016."


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