By | August 8, 2023
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On Wednesday, August 30, you will no doubt hear the mainstream media proclaiming that on that evening we will have an opportunity to witness a “supermoon.” It is a term, or more specifically, a brand, of relatively recent origin. It is not derived from astronomy, but astrology; was first coined by an astrologer, who arbitrarily defined it as “a full moon occurring with the moon at or near (within 90 percent of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit (perigee).”

At 12 PM ET on the fifth Wednesday in August, the Moon will actually arrive at perigee, its closest point in its orbit relative to The earth at 221,942 miles (357,181 km) away. And 9 hours and 36 minutes later, the moon will officially be full. Although a full moon theoretically only lasts a moment, that moment is imperceptible to ordinary observation, and for a day or so before and after most people will report seeing almost full moon as “full”: The shaded strip is so narrow and changes in apparent width so slowly that it is difficult for the naked eye to tell whether it is present or which side it is.

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