Saturday, January 10, 2009
I have a little book called Walk When The Moon is Full by Frances Hamerstrom and illustrated by Robert Katona. I think I read it to the kids, but I'm not sure. It didn't seem familiar when I looked at it today. This activity is one of those I always meant to do when my children were little, but I never did. Why? Well, if you are a parent, you know all too well that minutes turn into years and suddenly the chance is gone. If I have grandchildren, I vow to take them out walking in the light of the full moon each month. I promise.
This month's full moon is a special one. Not only is the moon in its home sign of Cancer, but it is also at perigee. You might ask, what is perigee, as I would myself except for this nifty calendar our son gave his dad for Christmas.
If there are times when you look at the full moon and think that it looks much larger than normal, it may be because the moon is at perigee, its nearest approach to Earth. On average, the moon is about 384,400 kilometers away from Earth. The distance varies more than 50,000 kilometers because of the moon's elliptical orbit. At most, the moon's greatest apogee, or furthest distance, is about 406,610 kilometers away. The closest the moon can be at perigee is about 356,334 kilometers away. This January is an exciting month for moon gazers, as the moon will be full at perigee, which will be 357,501 kilometers away. The only time this year the moon will be closer to Earth will be in July, when it will be 357,465 kilometers away at perigee. We won't be as likely to see it, however, as it will occur during the new moon phase.
If all those numbers boggle your mind, the important news is to go outside, or at least look out the window tonight because it is a big moon deal. Those moonbeams are almost the closest to us they can be, and because the moon is full (10:27 pm EST), they will be bright.
I plan to read the January entry of this little book today, and we are heading outdoors tonight, even if it is just for a few minutes. And I'm going to continue this little endeavor throughout the year. I promise.