Nearly every general interest Web site has had a posting this week about the Super Moon that will be happening this weekend. For those that have not managed to find a site that featured the coming Super Moon it seems that on the nights of the 22nd and 23rd of June we will experience a Super Moon.
A Super Moon is when the moon’s elliptical orbit around the Earth brings it closer to the Earth—hence it appears a bit bigger. Not much bigger. Only about 5 percent in diameter bigger than a mid-point moon or 7 percent bigger than a Far Moon.
June’s Super Moon will be a little bit more ‘super’ than some other Super Moons because it is going to come just that tiny bit closer this time. In fact it will not come this close again until August 2014.
The other little snippet is that this Super Moon is also a Long Moon. It is called a Long Moon because it is happening in June and it is happening also exactly on the winter solstice. Full moons that happen on the very day of the winter solstice are rare enough, but a Super Moon that happens as a Long Moon is even rarer.
I tried to find out from Google just how rare but I couldn’t pin it down.
Presumably those people who get to name the various moons decided to call this type of moon a Long Moon because, as it happens with the winter solstice, it is therefore in the night sky for the longest possible amount of time—because it is the longest night.
Just to really confuse things it is only called the Long Moon in the southern hemisphere; for obvious reasons. In the northern hemisphere it is called the Rose Moon or the Flower Moon and I have no idea why that is.
For anyone the slightest bit interested, in case you were planning to do something sometime around the next Blue Moon, that will be happening around the 31st of July 2015.