Full Moon Comparison

March 19, 2011

Lunar-apogee-perigee-2010 (2)

Photographer: Anthony Ayiomamitis; Anthony's Web site
Summary Author: Anthony Ayiomamitis

March 2011 Earth Science Picture of the Day Viewer's Choice

At apogee, the Moon is on average approximately 406,500 km (252,587 mi) away from Earth with an apparent diameter of about 29.5 arc-minutes (about one half degree); whereas at perigee, the Moon is approximately 356,500 km (221,500 mi) distant and has an apparent diameter of about 33.6 arc-minutes. This difference of 50,000 km (31,069 mi) between apogee and perigee results in a dramatic change in the apparent diameter as illustrated by the two full Moons above, photographed in 2010. These particular full Moons were strategically selected to have the full Moon as near as possible to its minimum perigee and maximum apogee when crossing the local meridian in Athens, Greece. The Moon photo at left was taken on January 30, 2010 (at 00:31:28 local time) and the Moon at right was snapped on August 25, 2010 (01:26:33 local time).

Check out tonight's full Moon. It'll have the second largest apparent diameter of any Moon in the last 19 years -- the full Moon for December 12, 2008 was just a few miles closer.

Photo details: AP 160/f7.5 StarFire EDF; AP 1200GTO GEM; Canon EOS 350d camera; Baader UV/IR-Cut; 2 x 1/320 second exposure; ISO 100; JPG Fine Image Format.