Comprehensive coverage

After 133 years, the moon will be exceptionally bright

Millennium / A variety of phenomena involving the rising of the moon and its approach to the earth

NASA CEO Daniel Goldin, Wall Street Journal and Avi Belizovsk

The approaching millennium carries with it more disturbing things than the 2000 bug. Dentist Stefan Shusterman, for example, is more worried about the supermoon. Once every 29 days, he says, his clinic in Needham, Massachusetts, is attacked by insanity. Children who on normal days drive in moderation go berserk when he tries to perform fillings, and the parents in the waiting room complain. Dr. Shusterman and his assistant look at each other with understanding - this is again the bad mood of the full moon days.

The last full moon of the millennium will rise today, and it will be exceptionally large and bright. A celestial coincidence, which will occur for the first time in 133 years, will cause the moon to be so bright that, weather permitting, night drivers will be able to forego their lights. Astronomy enthusiasts, idolaters and lovers are already waiting for the moment.

Today at 22:32, the moon will be full. It will be as close as possible to the sun (about 145.6 million km), so the sunlight it will return will be about 7% stronger than in summer. It will also appear larger, because on that day it will reach perigee - the closest point to Earth in its orbit. And as if that wasn't enough, today is also the day of the Solstice - the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, when the Sun is exactly above the Circle of Capricorn.

This reception of events is an extraordinary event. According to experts, the last time a perigee full moon and a solstice occurred within a 24-hour period was in December 1866. This affected the people of the Lakota Indian tribe (the "Sio" tribe in American terms), who base their calendar on the lunar cycle. Horse Crazy, the most important Native American warrior in history, was especially affected. So he decided to ambush 80 American soldiers led by Captain William Peterman, and kill them.

Donovin Sprague, a descendant of Crazy Horse and professor of American Indian studies at Black Hills University in South Dakota, believes the current supermoon will promote healing, not war. Astrologer Gloria Starr of Clinton, Connecticut, on the other hand, predicts an increase in hostilities today in Chechnya. "It is very possible that the Russians will destroy a lot of property," she said.

Most scientists doubt these predictions. True, the moon controls the tide cycles and affects the weather, a full moon causes a slight increase in temperature and a decrease in barometric pressure, increasing the chance of storms. But, most will say, it does not affect our behavior.

For years there have been claims that the moon influences human behavior. In the distant past, the moon was associated with lobes, epileptic seizures, sleepwalking and werewolves. Police officials say the rate of murders, suicides and violence increases on nights of a full moon. In the hospitals, they noticed an increase in the number of births and the occupancy of the emergency room.

Either way, the moon will not lack fans. "Black-Silver Wolf", a writer and witch from Pennsylvania, celebrates the winter solstice instead of Christmas. She and her friends plan to combine their traditional solstice celebrations with full moon rituals this year, including a healing ceremony where they hold candles to the moon and hand them to the sick. "To me, the full moon symbolizes the sublime in femininity," she says. "We often perform healing actions on full moon days, and they work well."
{Appeared in Haaretz newspaper, 22/12/1999}

– – – — – – – — – — – –
The night between Wednesday and Thursday this week will be an especially bright night - the amount of light projected from the moon will be 7% greater than the average amount. Also, the moon will appear that night much larger than usual.

Several factors will combine to cause this: First, and most importantly, the moon will be at its perigee - that is, at the point in its orbit that is closest to the Earth. Second, it will be full. Ilan Manolis, head of the division for small bodies in the solar system at the Israel Astronomical Society, explains that these two occurrences will happen only two weeks before the Earth, and with it the Moon, reach the point in their orbit that is closest to the Sun, which ensures that the Moon will reflect much more light than usual. By the way, the night between December 22 and 23 will also be the longest night of the year.

According to an e-mail sent to many sites of astronomy enthusiasts, the combination of his phenomena - a full moon, at the closest point to the Earth, on the longest night of the year - is rare and occurs once in 133 years. But Ilan Manolis explains that this case is not so rare. It last occurred in 1991, and before that in 1980. What makes this year special is the proximity between the three phenomena: they will happen within a span of only 10 hours, while usually the span is much longer: only twice in the last 150 years, in 1866 and 1991, have the three phenomena happened within a span of less than 24 hours.

The magazine "Sky and Telescope" compared data of all the years in which the moon was full while it was at the point of waning. The magazine asked to check in which year out of these years the frigate was the closest to Earth. On Wednesday night, the moon is expected to be at a distance of 356,654 kilometers from the earth; In December 1893, January 1912 and January 1930, the magazine found, it was closer. In 1912, the most spectacular moon was observed in the last two hundred years. On the day it was at its closest point to the Earth, the Earth was at its closest point to the Sun. As a result, the moon was 25 percent brighter than usual.
{Appeared in Haaretz newspaper, 20/12/1999}

Leave a Reply

Email will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismat to prevent spam messages. Click here to learn how your response data is processed.