Lunar Perigee: Why The Moon Looks So Huge Right Now

These few days past, I’ve been somewhat astounded by the apparent fullness of Sydney Harbour. Honestly, as though someone set the tap on to fill ‘er up, and accidentally left it on overnight.

See that tiny sliver of beach in the background?

That’s usually, well, a proper beach that slopes down to the water’s edge. Of late, it has looked more like a crumbling pie-crust on the edge of a very swollen, watery pie.

A mere bit o’ sand about to be gobbled up by the advancing ocean.

Anyway, it turns out that I am NOT a lunatic (in this regard). The seemingly unprecedented height of this tide is NOT a figment of my imagination. IT IS, in fact…

…THE PERIGEE.

Apogee diagram -- Wiki commons

{ via Wikipedia }

Yes, as opposed to Apogee*. For the moon keeps us company on an elliptical, eccentric [as opposed to beige] orbit, and thus every month, she spends some time in very close proximity to Earth (perigee): filling our tides, knocking us off balance, bathing our beds in bright white moonshine… before whirling away again (apogee).

But, tomorrow’s lunar perigee is not just ANY perigee. No indeed. Tomorrow, January 30, is the closest we two shall be all year. So if you have a tendency to moongaze, and find yourself marvelling at the apparent largeness of our satellite — and the fullness of our tides — rest assured that you are not imagining things. Technically, the moon is actually bigger than you remember it.

{ via NASA }

And now, when I awake tomorrow to find the ocean on the very verge of overflowing, and wonder again who left the water running, at least I’ll know who to blame.

*Personally, when I think of Apogee, the first thing that comes to mind is Cosmo…


Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventures, by Apogee Software via Wikipedia }

…and, to a lesser extent, Duke Nukem, Wolfenstein 3D, and Commander Keen.


DEFINITELY RELATED POSTS:

NYYYE: Bewitched at the witching hour by musical magic and Mother Nature

As Oh-Nine switched into Twenty-Ten*… One pedantic blogger, Three friends of mine, and around Sixteen Thousand strangers were wildly dancing to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, in the rural coastal farmland wonderland that is Falls Festival, Marion Bay, Tasmania.


{ via The Mercury }


To the North, a full moon — a full BLUE moon — peered through the clouds:


{ via me, @miss_om }


To the South, behind the stage, instead of mankind’s incredible but economically and environmentally expensive fireworks, our pyrotechnics were provided by a truly electric lightning storm, erratically illuminating the wild Tasmanian night from end-to-end, for hours on end.


{ the view in Hobart, via The Mercury }


And then, as if sensing the combined heat of 16000 revellers, great big raindrops began to fall from the sky, lit like glitter by the neon green strobe lights. For the last hour of Oh-Nine, the crowd… went wild. The atmosphere was nothing short of primal.


A witching hour decorated by magic music and some of Mother Nature’s finest miracles? A bewitching start to the new year.


And speaking of witches**, the following is an item of wiccan imagery:


{ Witch Tower, via FFFFOUND! }

And THIS…

…is the official Yeah Yeah Yeahs t-shirt.


Wicked, yeah?


* Entering a new decade has been a popular topic of conversation of late. Personally, I’m more interested in the changed abbreviation. It seems like just yesteryear that we were all in a bother about how to abbreviate 2000 (after the convenience of ‘Ninety-Nine’ and all its predecessors). Turns out we were okay with ‘Two Thousand’, and the the rest of the noughties took care of themselves. Twenty-Ten rolls off the tongue beautifully, don’t you think? Though I hate to think where we’ll be this time next year. ‘Twenty-Eleven’ is far too polysyllabic: too cumbersome. But then simply saying ‘Eleven’ just doesn’t say enough: it lacks clarity. Oh well. At least we’ve got 363 days to decide on a suitably agreeable abbreviation.

** No, nothing about Karen O! Though the fact that she wrote the soundtrack to Where The Wild Things Are (and is pretty darn wicked) makes the wildness particularly relevant.

DEFINITELY RELATED POSTS: Camping on Tenterhooks (aka. Another apt OED Word of The Day)