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Posted: 1/9/2006 9:11:32 PM EDT
I'm in the Northeast US and was wondering when the moon is largest in the sky during the night. Random question, yes. But I'm curious.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:16:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 9:18:42 PM EDT by K2QB3]
Ummm,

Earth is a sphere, more or less.

The moon doesn't get closer or farther away based on the time of day.

It does get closer and farther away each time it makes an eliptical orbit, every month.

That time varies, it isn't always in the same phase, so you have to look it up, google would have the dates.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:17:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By K2QB3:
Ummm,

Earth is a sphere, more or less.

The moon doesn't get closer or farther away based on the time of day.

It does get closer and farther away each time it makes an eliptical orbit, every month.

The earth goes around the sun too, not the other way around.

Isn't science cool?



Either I'm hallucinating or at different times of the night and lunar cycle the moon appears to be larger in the sky than at other.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:18:30 PM EDT
Maybe your looking for something else, but in general the moon appears largest when it is near the horizon. Both the effect of the atmosphere and it proximity to a reference of known size make it appear larger.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:22:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 9:33:06 PM EDT by K2QB3]
It does change during the lunar cycle. daily changes would have to be an optical illusion from the atmosphere.

It isn't always in the same phase because the relationship between the earth, moon and sun is different every orbit, as we go round the sun and the moon orbits the earth.

Once in a while you get a full moon right when it's as close as it gets to the earth, and the moon looks HUGE.

Edit-

The actual time it takes the moon to orbit the earth and the time it takes to go from one full moon to another isn't the same, because we've gone approximately 1/12 of the way around the sun while the moon makes an orbit, there's about an 8% difference, so it takes a couple days longer before the moon appears to havecompleted an orbit.

I believe the moon actually orbits the earth 13 times a year, but it appears to only be 12 because we go all the way around the sun in the meantime.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:22:30 PM EDT
The moon can appear nearer due to atmospheric effects. That scene at the end of "Joe Versus the Volcano" - that can happen very rarely. I saw it once when I was a child over the Gulf and I still don't believe it. Seeing the moon that big actually gave me nightmares for years.

The moon could appear larger the closer to full it is. Even though more of the moon that is lit up is facing the earth when it is full that does not entirely explain the increase in brightness. Being covered by a lot of fine silicate dust the moon has a reflectivity very sensitive to the incident angle of the sunlight. Most light tends to be reflected along the normal line to the surface. The same principle applies to roadsigns that shine very brightly when you are shining your headlights right at them but not when you are off to an angle.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:22:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Grunteled:
Maybe your looking for something else, but in general the moon appears largest when it is near the horizon. Both the effect of the atmosphere and it proximity to a reference of known size make it appear larger.



+1
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:26:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 9:32:02 PM EDT by Sixgun357]
Speaking of moons.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:27:54 PM EDT

Originally Posted By wump:

Originally Posted By Grunteled:
Maybe your looking for something else, but in general the moon appears largest when it is near the horizon. Both the effect of the atmosphere and it proximity to a reference of known size make it appear larger.



+1



Yep, cut a circle in a piece of paper and it'll fill it the same amount as it passes through the sky.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:31:16 PM EDT
Seems largest to me when it first peeps over the mountain
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:44:37 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 10:23:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 10:24:21 PM EDT by npd233]

Originally Posted By roboman:
I'm in the Northeast US and was wondering when the moon is largest in the sky during the night. Random question, yes. But I'm curious.



It's always the same size. It appears larger when closer to the earth's horizon only because you're comparing its size to things on the earth. Hold a ruler up at arms' length next time you see it at the horizon and measure the width. Then do it again when it's overhead in the sky. It'll be the same.


Edit.. i guess I should've read further before replying. Oh well. I think you get the picture.
Link Posted: 1/10/2006 12:41:40 AM EDT
The moon is closest to the viewer when directly over head. When the moon is on the horizon, the it is at the same distance plus about 1/4 the diameter of the earth away from you. The visible difference in size is an optical illusion when you have something like a building or horizon to compare and contrast it to.
Link Posted: 1/10/2006 8:04:25 AM EDT
That's no moon...
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