‘Super Moon’ Will Be Quite The Sight

By Bud Gillett, CBS 11 News

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – On Saturday the moon will be the closest to the earth it ever gets—about 221,000 miles.  And for some the lunar mystery is both physical—and metaphysical.

“We’ve always felt this is much more interesting, much more detailed, than the rest of the things in the sky to see,” says University of Texas at Dallas space scientist Dr. Marc Hairston, who says it dominates the night sky.

Unlike stars, the moon changes its shape monthly, changes its location in the sky overnight.  It inspires poets and fascinates scientists.  Its orbit around earth is elliptical, not round.  Its closest point – the perigee – comes about once a month, as does a full moon.

But once in a generation, they match.  And at that point it can appear 14% larger than at its point furthest away, the apogee.  “To your eye it won’t seem that  much larger,” says Dr. Hairston, “but it will be a little bit brighter than usual so it will be a spectacular sight to see.”

The lunar orbit is all about gravity, and gravity’s one of the things kids learn at the Planetarium of the Museum of Nature & Science in Fair Park.

Jack Abram studied the moon in school tried to apply what he learned. “I think it’s pretty complex,” he says, “you have to think also about the clouds and not just the moon itself, and the sun and the earth.”

Meantime, the Planetarium’s Kyle Doane is eager to dispel some schoolbook misconceptions. “In most text books it’ll show the moon this close to earth,” he says pointing to a standard text, adding, “but it in reality… the moon is about 30 earth diameters away, so in this scale it would be about this far away (about ten feet).

But the full moon doesn’t hold fascination for everyone.  Joye King is a licensed counselor who also sponsors psychic fairs. “So it (the super moon) gives us a sense of panic.”  Some people she sees fear full moons in general, super moons even more.  “It pushes our fear and our illusions—can we make this?” she says they ask.

And the answer?  “Try to stay focused and do what you can do here at home.  And do your prayers or whatever you can do to help other people,” she adds, “The answer seems to be to help other people in whatever way you can.”


One Comment

  1. Kyle Doane says:

    The full moon is the only time that the moon rises just as the sun sets. It will be slightly larger than normal appearance and well worth looking at tonight. Something about the human brain makes the moon seem much larger to us than it should appear. Take a drinking straw with you on your lunar observations. By holding the straw like a telescope aimed at the moon, the entirety of the full moon will appear within the straw!

    So far, only 12 men have had a reverse view- standing on the surface of the moon and looking back at Earth. From that vantage point, your thumb at arms length would cover the entire Earth.

    The moon is not the only spectacular sight tonight at sunset. If you have a clear view of the Western horizon, look just above the sun set for two bright star-like objects. The one appearing closest to the sun is our largest planet Jupiter. The one a few degrees higher in the sky is our smallest planet Mercury.

    If you want to know more, the Museum of Nature and Science has a portable planetarium which can be brought to your school or club to help explore the mysteries of the Universe. You may also download planetarium software for FREE and turn your computer into a virtual planetarium. Software may be downloaded here: http://www.nightshadesoftware.org

  2. Hemroidious says:

    I know that I have had to shave my face twice a day.

  3. C B says:

    Thank you, Kyle. Unfortunately, I missed the moon viewing, as it took 18 hours to read your post.

  4. Kyle says:

    @ CB Hilarious! Thanks for the laugh. Yeah, news is often built for short attention span theater. I just wanted to leave a few clues for those who might want to know something more in depth.

Comments are closed.

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