What Is A Perigee-syzygy ?

The term is astronomical, but you many know it by its common, non-astrological name: Supermoon (named by astrologer Richard Nolle, over 30 years ago).   You many have heard on the news or seen a headline or two about the “supermoon” event, but what exactly is a supermoon?


Supermoons always occur during a full Moon and they are “super” because the Moon is at its closest point to the Earth, or at least as close as it can be.

About three or four times a year, the new or full moon coincides closely in time with the perigee of the moon—the point when the moon is closest to the Earth. These occurrences are often called 'perigean spring tides.' The difference between ‘perigean spring tide’ and normal tidal ranges for all areas of the coast is small. In most cases, the difference is only a couple of inches above normal spring tides.  Image and caption via NOAA.

The supermoon of August 10, 2014, was actually the closest the Moon has been to Earth this year.  According to astrologers, there are 4-6 supermoons a year.  They use the measurement that the Moon has to be within 90% of its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.

File:Supermoon comparison.jpg

According to NASA, a full moon at perigee is up to 14% larger and 30% brighter than one at its farthest point, or apogee.

The next  supermoon of 2014 will be on September 9 when the Moon will be within has to come within 224,851 miles ( 361,863 kilometers) of Earth as measured from the center of each body.

So get ready to be super sized!

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +


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