Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Full moon at apogee

This morning there was a full moon (as some of you probably noticed on your way to work). The Moon has been growing steadily for the last 2 weeks and it has now reached the point were it is at its brightest.

I went outside tonight at got this picture of the Moon, it's quite a view when it's full.
The picture is slightly out of focus (I'm still learning to use the telescope with my camera mount) and there are some visual artifacts from the lenses in the scope (the blueish glow on the left side of the Moon), but it's still awesome to look at the Moon like this.

Full moon
But there's something else about the current full moon; the Moon is currently at apogee, which is the farthest point on it's elliptic orbit around the Earth (see my Moon trivia post for more info).
This means that the Moon is as (visually) small as it becomes making this the least brightest full moon possible. You probably won't notice it if you go outside though, the Moon is still plenty bright.

The difference in (apparent) size between the size of the apogee and perigee (when it's closest) Moons is only around 10% and requires that you have two images to compare before you can really see it.
Below you can see just that, pictures taken in 2010 by astronomer Anthony Ayiomamitis.

Picture from