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Perigee Full Moon Rising

published  First Published: 18/03/2011
Article written by: Nigel Brookson

Moon biggest for almost 20 years

If the moon appears larger this weekend, there is a good reason why!
The moon will appear larger and brighter for the next few days, in fact appearing larger than for almost 20 years.

The event is called a perigee moon; i.e. when the moon is closest to earth and orbit. It's going to be about 49889 thousand kilommetres closer than when it's farthest away, meaning it will appear larger and brighter than it has since March 1993.

The next 'perigee moon' isn't until 2029.

The moon's orbit is elliptical; more like an egg than a spherical ball, and as it follows its path one side of the ellipse, known as perigee, passes about 50,000 kilommetres closer than the on the other side; known as apogee.


A perigee full moon appears around 14% larger and 30 per cent brighter than an apogee full moon.

Actual Time

NASA's website says that the event will be of "rare size and beauty", and will rise about 08.00 pm (AEDT) on Saturday, becoming full on Sunday morning at 05.10 am (AEDT), one hour before lunar perigee.
On Sunday morning, look to the west and you'll see the moon at it's largest until 2029.

For science 'boffin's' there are two cycles; 29 and a half days between full moons, and secondly there is 27 and a half days from apogee to apogee.

Perigee full moons also usually bring extra-high tides says Daniel Jaksa, co-director of the joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre, and will probably be a fraction of one per cent higher than normal.

Earthquake prediction from 'Moonman'

Auckland-based mathematician known as the "Moonman"; Ken Ring, has stated that the perigee moon will cause another major earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Mr Ring claims he predicted Christchurch's deadly February 22 quake by studying the moon.

Mr Jaksa however disagrees.

"You only have to look at the major energy source that's driving the tectonic process and it's not the moon," he said.
"It's the convection currents in the mantle as the Earth tries to cool down from its core outwards that drives plate tectonics."



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