"The fullest moon"

Mike Salovesh t20mxs1 at CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU
Mon Dec 20 20:12:56 UTC 1999

A couple of people have chided me, off-list, for saying "the fullest
moon of the century".  They put the phrase in the same class as "most
unique" or "bigger than infinity", allegedly impossible comparisons
among absolutes.  Well, as for "most unique" (or "more unique", etc.)
the usage is attested to often enough for me to accept it as a
meaningful statement.  "Bigger than infinity" only sounds funny until
you hear about Kantor's transfinite numbers.

Yes, some full moons are fuller than others.  Here's a message I got the
other day in support of that statement.  I know who sent it to me, but
he only forwarded it.  The original source is unknown.

> This year the December full moon will occur on the winter solstice,   > Dec.22.

> Since a full moon on the winter solstice occurs in conjunction with a > lunar perigee (the point in which the moon's orbit is closest to      > Earth), the moon will appear about 14% larger than it does at apogee  > (the point in its elliptical orbit when it is farthest from the       > Earth). Since the Earth is also several million miles closer to the
> sun at this time of the year than in the summer, sunlight striking the > moon is about 7% stronger, making it appear brighter. Also, this will > be the closest perigee of the moon of the year since the moon's orbit > is constantly deforming.
> In layman's terms (and I am appreciative of this) it will be a super  > bright full moon, much brighter than the usual AND it hasn't happened > this way for 133 years! The last time this happened, on Dec. 21,1866, > the Lakota Sioux took advantage of the exceptionally bright moonlight > and staged a devastating retaliatory ambush on soldiers in the Wyoming > Territory.

I don't vouch for the historical accuracy of what the message says
happened in 1866: I wasn't around at the time.

-- mike salovesh     <salovesh at niu.edu>     PEACE !!!

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