Biggest Full Moon in 20 Years!

Stargazers are in for a big treat this weekend!

On Mar. 19 the full moon will brighten the night sky as the biggest full moon seen in almost two decades.  The moon will be at perigee, its closest point to Earth — only 221,565 miles (356,575 km) away.

The moon’s orbit around Earth is not circular — it’s elliptical.  One part of the orbit,
the perigee, is closer to the Earth than the other, the apogee. The image is NOT to
scale — the eccentricity of the moon’s orbit has been exaggerated.

The last time the full moon coincided with an extreme perigee was Mar. 8, 1993 when it was a distance of 221,536 miles (356,528 km) from the Earth.

This Saturday night, the moon will appear 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter in the sky than lesser full moons — when the moon is farthest from the Earth. But to the casual observer, it may difficult to tell the difference.

For the best viewing — and dependent upon clear skies, of course– look when the moon is near the horizon at sunset. The orbital geometry combined with the moon’s location near the horizon, put in scale next to buildings and trees, will combine to produce an awesome sight.

Full moon over space shuttle Endeavour in 2008.

If you take some great images of this weekend’s full moon, we’d love to feature them on the Marshall Space Flight Center Facebook page!!/nasamarshallcenter

7 thoughts on “Biggest Full Moon in 20 Years!”

  1. Can you please answer this phenomenon is dangerous? please we are very anxious for this phenomenon, because many things are spoken about this ….plssss

  2. Hi everyone — to answer some previous questions, there’s no danger. You can simply enjoy an exceptionally big and beautiful moon!

  3. We watched this full moon. It was brilliant and quite spectacular. I took pictures but my camera is not the greatest so don’t know how they are as I have not checked yet. My concern it this. That night and every night I can remember the moon rises over an eastern hill in front of my house, However last night my husband and I were outside around 9:30 pm and the little sliver of a moon was on the North Western side of my house barely visible over top of that hill. I live in a VAlley surrounded by WV Hills on the Eastern side and Ohio Hills on the Western side of my house. Normally the moon rises over and above my house and around 12 or 1 pm I can see it behind a group of trees in the Western side of my house it was a lot farther north and much farther over and almost out of site of the Western Hills. Why is this? Is it something I just never noticed before or is it a strange thing. I plan on doing some nightly research on the location and time of the moon for the next several nights or longer to see what and where the moon is from here on in. I would like to receive feedback to see if anybody else has noticed this. If in fact this is not normal. I just never noticed such a thing before and am not certain if it is a normal cycle of the moon. I have tried to find any info fro others to no avail. I thought Nasa would be the best place to ask my questions.


  4. The effect will not be destructive. We will just experience high tide but not so high. It’s not yet the end of the world.

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