Stellar pieces fall into place tonight | AspenTimes.com

Stellar pieces fall into place tonight

Aspen Times Staff Report

If locals are acting goofier than usual tonight, it may be an unusually bright full moon that’s to blame.

For the first time in 133 years, the full moon will correspond with the Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice, the longest night of the year, at the same time it is closest to Earth. The Earth is also nearing its closest approach to the sun.

The rare alignment of sun, moon and Earth means tonight’s full moon will be one of the brightest, as an unusual amount of sunlight will be cast on the lunar surface.

A full moon happens to fall on the Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice once every 19 years. But the last time such an event occurred while the moon was at its perigee (when it’s closest to Earth) and the Earth was nearing its closest approach to the sun, was in 1866.

Experts say the moon tonight will appear roughly 14 percent larger than a typical full moon. Of course, if it’s cloudy, it won’t appear at all for Earthlings in Aspen.


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