Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Micromoon vs Supermoon

We often hear about the Supermoon, but what does this term actually mean?
First of all we must remember that the distance between the Moon and the Earth is not constant. Our satellite is in fact moving on an elliptical orbit and the distance from our planet varies between 355 thousand and 405 thousand km. When the Moon is at the minimum distance from Earth it is said that it is at the perigee. 
When you happen to have a full moon at the perigee, you say you have a supermoon. Similarly, you will have a Micromoon when the full Moon is at its apogee, that is, at the maximum possible distance from Earth.
A Supermoon is therefore not a very rare phenomenon: of the 12/13 full moons that occur every year, three or four are in fact Supermoons.
On the other hand, the difference between a normal full moon and a supermoon is virtually impossible to recognize with the naked eye. The image of the post shows the typical dimensions of a Supermoon and a Micromoon: as you can see their angular diameter varies only slightly and this difference is almost impossible to distinguish in the sky.

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