Friday, January 29, 2010

Howling at the Moon

Tonight is the first full moon of 2010 - also known as the Wolf Moon.  It can best be viewed about 10:18pm PST.  At 1:04am PST, the full moon will be at it's closest point to the Earth this year. 

This occurrance is called perigee,  when the moon is actually a bit over 31,000 miles closer to the Earth than at any other time of the twenty-nine and a half days of it's orbit.  The reason for this is that the orbit of the moon isn't an actual circle but an eliptical shape.  The opposite of perigee is apogee - when the moon is the farthest from the Earth. 

When the perigee occurs during a full moon such as the one tonight, the moon appears to be just under 15% larger than during the rest of the year.  It will also be approximately 30% brighter tonight as well.  While perigee happens every month, it will only happen once or possibly twice a year during a full moon.  Great photo ops to be had for those with clear skies...

The name Wolf Moon was given to the first full moon of the year by Native Americans in the North-Eastern parts of the United States.  Because the hungry wolves howled about the tribes' villages in cold, wet January the name Wolf Moon stuck.  They had various other names for the full moons during the rest of the year. 

Hope you get a chance to gaze at the moon tonight, wherever you are. 


  1. Delightful post and so appropriate to come from "Mooncat Farms". I love it. Thanks for the insights. I'm in PST so I'll go out after 10pm to take a look. I was so busy on New Years, I forgot to go look at the "Blue Moon".


    PS - I hope Mom is getting better!

  2. It really was beautiful!
    ~ Leo Mega Full Moon Contemplations and Actions ~
    How may I reignite my creative fire for change and release the fears that weigh me down?
    Where do I need to focus my energy to make the change?

  3. Great information and lovely shot of the moon! We didn't see it due to snow clouds but I did get a photo the night before, will post soon. I'm still struggling with computer crash and am moving snowly -grin-.

  4. It was amazing, wasn't it?
    Excellent information!


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