Full Moon Tonight

For those of us not lucky enough to be camping under the stars this week, you can still enjoy a full moon tonight (I know some states over east are experiencing clouds and rain but in WA the skies are very clear and it will be great viewing tonight). Mars is also at its brightest at the moment and visible all night - tonight it is 10 degrees north of the moon. The only other planets in the night sky at the moment are Mercury (very difficult to see, low in the west post-sunset), Venus (low in west setting about 8.30 or 9.30 DST), Jupiter - close to venus, and Saturn rising about 8pm (9pm DST).

Oh and here's some interesting moon facts - did you know there is a "far side" of the moon that we can't see from Earth? Long ago, the Earth's gravitational effects slowed the moon's rotation about its axis. Once the moon's rotation slowed enough to match its orbital period (the time it takes the moon to go around Earth) the effect stabilized. So the moon goes around the Earth once and spins on its axis once, all in the same amount of time, and it shows us just one face the whole time.

Also, the distance between the center of Earth and the moon's center varies throughout each orbit. This fact is why sometime full moons look bigger than others because it is in fact sometimes closer.

The moon is also not round - it's shaped like an egg!

People who love the ocean already know this, but at full moon and new moon, the sun, Earth and moon are lined up, producing higher than normal tides (called spring tides, for the way they spring up).

And so, here endeth today's astronomy lesson ;)

Enjoy!
Michelle

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Reply By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 17:12

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 17:12
Thank you Michelle for the 'Astronomy Lesson', very interesting, I for one love to gaze at the moon and stars, I don't know too much about them but love gazing at them in awe and wonder.
I have so many memories of the different places out in the bush where the stars and moon are so bright it is almost like daylight.

Cheers

D


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Reply By: Andrew & Jen - Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 17:27

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 17:27
Hullo Michelle

Now I can tell you this because no one else is listening - right?

When the full moon is just above the horizon as it rises it often looks quite a lot larger. Well, turn your back to it, bend over and look at it between your legs.
You will be amazed how much smaller it looks (normal size).

Then quickly stand up and turn around to look at it normally and it will return to its larger size.

Try it :-)

And don't ask me why, because I haven't a clue!

Cheers
Andrew

PS I can remember convincing a whole group of people to do this one evening when we were on the cliffs on the north coast of Kangaroo Island many (50) years ago - there were initially many doubters but as more and more exclaimed "It does! - why is that?" eventually all of the group succumbed :-) They are now all true believers :-)
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz - Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 17:58

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 17:58
hmmmm... I will have to think about this one!

What I do know is the moon always gives a bigger illusion of size when its on the horizon. When it first rises on the horizon it always looks bigger than it does by later in the day when it is higher in the sky. But you can do a quick test to prove it's just an illusion - simply hold something in front of you at arms length when the moon first rises (a 50c piece) ... then repeat the test later when the moon is higher and looks smaller. Next to your 50c piece it'll look comparatively the same in both tests.

Now thinking back to your example, couldn't it simply be the difference in your own perspective from being upside down looking between your legs you are now shorter so the horizon is now further away?? Here endeth my scientific hypothesis! Over to the experts!!

Michelle
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 18:30

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 18:30
Just make sure no one has a camera handy, if you try this one, Michelle!!!

Bob.

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 00:44

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 00:44
Geez Andrew, that was a stupid idea.

I tried that "looking through the legs" antic but when I straightened up and spun around I got all dizzy and fell over and bumped my head. Then I couldn't see the moon at all but just lots of circling stars and flashing lights for a while.

Have you got any other bright ideas mate?

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: landseka - Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 17:32

Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 17:32
Would this be considered to be Mooning the Moon???
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Reply By: Life Member - esarby (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 17:55

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 17:55
Optical illusion

Numerous theories have been advanced to explain the ""moon illusion.'' At one point people thought it had something to do with the angle at which you hold your head and/or eyes while viewing, while others said it was caused by differences in the moon's brightness when seen at various locations in the sky. Both ideas have long since been discredited. The fact is that the illusion is dependent entirely on the visual cues provided by the terrain when the moon is near the horizon, and the lack of such cues when it's at the zenith. To prove this, try viewing the moon through a cardboard tube or a hole punched in a sheet of paper to mask out the landscape--the illusion disappears.

I used to drive home west on the M4 freeway and sometimes I would see a huge moon rising in my rear view mirror, only to find that when I looked in my driving mirror it was it's normal size. never worked out why the difference. Just an optical Illusion.

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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 18:29

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 18:29
Michelle,

Were you aware that springs and soaks flow more at full moon too?

Many years ago, when I worked in the East Kimberly, some small springs that only "dribbled" most of the time, for say 20 metres, would flow much more during these full moon events. Used to make trapping cattle more difficult, as they had an alternative water supply, away from where you wanted them.

Bob.
Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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Reply By: garrycol - Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 18:49

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 18:49
I guess the whackos will be on forum later tonight.
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Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 19:08

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 19:08
One of the "hidden" features on the dark side of the moon is an alien base.

Confirmed by Apollo astronauts who used the code word "Santa Claus" to describe UFOs. When one mission emerged from radio silence behind the moon they confirmed with Houston that their " is a Santa Claus". Unfortunately this was said on Christmas Eve which clouded the meaning a little.

Conspiracy theorists can have a field day on Google and Youtube with the words: alien moon base.

Go on, you know you want to.....



I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
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Follow Up By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 20:55

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 20:55
Geez Bushy

You have let the cat out of the bag re: Top Secret Information.

Just to make people aware Santa Claus is a code name.

Scientific Alien National Terrestial Authority---- Comos Lunar Agency Ufo Surveys.

I have witnessed a few of the above when we were sitting around a fire after consuming a few reds.


Cheers



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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 21:08

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 21:08
Yes, they certainly seem to be more visible through the bottom of a glass.....

I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
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Reply By: Member - res.q.guy (Vic.) - Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 21:31

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 21:31
Hi
For those interested, with iPads etc, The app. Planets 3.2, shows you the location of the planets, stars and moon. Very interesting while camping out under the stars.
Cheers
Neil
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Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 21:49

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 21:49
Michelle,

Taken from the back yard,



Image Could Not Be Found



Wayne


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Follow Up By: ExplorOz - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 22:51

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 22:51
very nice job!
MM
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Reply By: woodie3 - Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 20:55

Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 20:55
Hello, If you are interested in the universe there is a free download, it is a programme called " Stellarium" put this in to Google and enjoy, gives a lot of info on the night sky
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Reply By: get outmore - Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 15:34

Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 15:34
also venus and Jupiter setting as the moon is rising

id have to look it up but pretty sure even though we all know about the dark side of the moon

For some reason of physics (just given my self some homework but pretty sure this is true) you can actually see more than just 1/2 the moon when its full
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Reply By: get outmore - Monday, Mar 12, 2012 at 04:20

Monday, Mar 12, 2012 at 04:20
Gotta love optical illusions. Going down great eastern tonight the only just waning moon looked colossal as it rose above the scarp
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