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When the Moon Hits Your Eye: A Guide to Lunar Phenomena

When the Moon Hits Your Eye: A Guide to Lunar Phenomena

For thousands of years, humanity have been captivated by the Moon. Its gravitational pull influences everything from the tides to our moods, and its cyclical waxing and waning phases have long served as a source of awe and inspiration. In this article, we’ll explore when the moon hits your eye: a guide to lunar phenomena.

Why Does It Make the Moon Look Bigger or Smaller?

Due to its eccentric orbit, the moon’s average distance from Earth shifts gradually over time. At perigee, when the moon is closest to Earth, it appears somewhat bigger than usual, and at apogee, when the moon is farthest from Earth, it appears slightly smaller than usual. The “moon illusion” occurs when it appears that the moon has shrunk or grown in size when, in fact, it is just an optical illusion.

Why Do They Occur on the Moon?

When Earth moves in between the sun and the moon, putting Earth’s shadow on the moon, we have a lunar eclipse. There are two components to a shadow: the penumbra (a partial shade) and the umbra (a complete shadow). A “blood moon” occurs when the moon is within the umbra and turns a crimson color.

Why Does It Happen Once in a Blue Moon?

A “blue moon” has nothing to do with the color of the moon, despite common assumption. It is actually a word for the second full moon of any given calendar month. A full moon happens about once every 29.5 days, thus when two coincide in the same month it is said to be “once in a blue moon.”

Why Does It Happen in Autumn?

When the full moon arrives in September or October, it is called the “harvest moon” since it is the moon closest to the autumnal equinox. It was traditionally advantageous for farmers who needed to labor late into the night harvesting crops because the moon’s orbit causes it to rise soon after sunset for several nights in a row at this time of year.

How Does One Explain a Supermoon?

The term “supermoon” refers to a full moon that happens while the moon is at its closest point to Earth (perigee). Although the difference is subtle to the human eye, this causes the moon to appear slightly bigger and brighter than usual. Photographers often take advantage of the rare yet beautiful supermoons that appear several times a year.


The moon has fascinated humanity for ages because of its mysterious nature and the fact that it is constantly evolving. Our nearest friend in space is always surprising us with new and exciting phenomena, like as lunar eclipses and supermoons. The moon is a source of amazement and awe for anybody who looks at it, whether they be scientists, photographers, or nature enthusiasts.

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