Extreme Super Moon on May 6th
Apr 24, 2012; 6:00 AM ET
Blog authored by AccuWeather Astronomy expert on Facebook, Daniel Vogler.
On May 6, 2012 we will have the closest lunar perigee of the year to coincide with a full moon, known as an Extreme Super Moon. What is a Super Moon you ask? It's when the moon gets to its closest point to Earth coinciding with a syzygy within 90% or greater of its mean perigee. To calculate this, we need some numbers. We can either use this years numbers or an easier route would to use average mean perigee and apogee distances. But why do that?
Using the Lunar Perigee and Apogee Calculator website, we see that the closest perigee of 2012 is May 6 @ 356,953 km. The farthest apogee is 13 days later on May 19th @ 406,450 km. Subtracting the distance gives you 49,497 km. So 90% of that would be 44,547 km. Any syzygy that's closer than 406,450 - 44,547 or 361,903 km would be by definition a Super Moon, in accordance to Richard Nolle, the astrologer gets credit for coining the phrase.
At 100% (its closest approach of the year) it is known as an Extreme Super Moon. The "Extreme" has been misguided throughout the internet, where people think it only happens every 17 years, which is not true. It happens every year on the closest Super Moon of the year, only the distances vary from year to year. (For example: last years Extreme Super Moon was 400 km closer than this years).
What makes this event stand out is not the distance that it gets, rather the timing.
At 3:34 UTC, the Moon will be at full moon syzygy. Then only TWO minutes later, at 3:36 UTC, the Moon will be at its closest point, a perigee at roughly 356,900 km. I looked back at other Super Moon data and cannot find any closer than that timing-wise, remarkable!
So lets talk about what this will bring us. As you all know, the tide is controlled by the gravitational pull of the Moon and its distance and position determines how much the tide rises and falls.......