It’s a double header feature this month! There are two full Moons popularly known as “Micromoons”. So does that mean it’s a Blue Micromoon?
The Moon’s orbit around Earth is slightly oval shaped or elliptical. So, every month there’s a time when the Moon is at its closest distance to Earth (at perigee) and another time when it is at its furthest distance from Earth (at apogee).
“Micromoon” is not an official astronomical term. Astronomers often say “Moon at perigee” or “Moon at apogee” in conversation. When apogee coincides with the full Moon, it’s popularly called a “Micromoon” or “Minimoon”. And when the Moon is at perigee? Well, it’s a “Supermoon”! Although these are not official astronomical terms, they certainly grab your attention which means we have more people heading outside to gaze up at the wonderful night sky.
When to look:
2nd October. Moonrise is at 6:41pm. The Moon will be at apogee and 406,321 kms from Earth.
31st October. Moonrise is at 6.24pm. The Moon will be at apogee and 406,394 kms from Earth.
Which direction to look: The Moon rises in the east.
Does a “Micromoon” appear smaller to the naked eye?
Do you think you will notice a difference between a “Micromoon” and a “Supermoon”? The difference in the apparent size between a “Micromoon” and a “Supermoon” is barely noticeable to the naked eye. So you won’t notice a difference in size. For some comparisons between “Supermoons” and “Micromoons”, check out the NASA website. Plus Ian Musgrave, Australia’s Astroblogger made this comparison.
What craters can you see on the Moon?
When you observe the Moon, take it one step further and identify a crater or two! There are some great tools that help you out with maps of all the features on the surface of the Moon. Before you know it, you’ll be pointing out the Tycho Crater or the Sea of Tranquillity to friends and family! Try some of these free apps and software:
Moon Globe (for iOS)
Moon Atlas 3D (for Android)
LunarMap Lite (for Android)