April Lunacy: Getting Ready for a Full ‘Mini-Moon’

April 20, 2016 - Supermoon

Do we acquire a additional dusk light of a Full Moon, or abuse a additional light pollution? Either way, this week’s Full Moon on Friday Apr 22nd is special. It’s a smallest Full Moon of 2016, something we here during Universe Today have christened a Mini-Moon.

Mini-Moon 2016: This year’s Mini-Moon falls on Apr 22nd during 5:25 Universal Time (UT), customarily 13 hours and 19 mins after lunar round a dusk before during 16:06 UT on Apr 21st. Though round on a 21st is 406,350 km apart – a bit on a apart end, though a third many apart for a year by 300 km — this week’s Full Moon is a closest to round for 2016 time-wise. The 2015 Mini-Moon was even closer, in a 10 hour range, though you’ll have to wait until Dec 10th, 2030 to find a closer occurance.

Image credit and copyright:

The Mini-Moon contra a 2011 Supermoon. Image credit and copyright: Ken Lord.

What is a Mini-Moon, we competence ask? As with a mostly feeble tangible Supermoon, we like to eschew a obscure ‘90% of a orbit’ definition, and simply impute to it as a Full Moon occurring within 24 hours of lunar apogee, or a farthest indicate from a Earth in a orbit.

Fun fact: a 29.55 day duration from perigee to perigee (or lunar apogee-to-apogee) is famous as an anomalistic month.

Image credit: Dave Dickinson

Mini-Moons by year for a residue of a decade. Note that a 2020 Full Moon is also a 2nd of a month… A ‘Mini-Blue Halloween Moon?’ Image credit: Dave Dickinson

Thank a Moon’s dumb circuit for all this lunacy. Inclined 5.14 degrees relations to a ecliptic plane, a Moon earnings to a same proviso (say, Full behind to Full) each 29.53 days, famous as a synodic month. The Moon can appear 33.5′ opposite during perigee, and cringe to 29.4′ opposite nearby apogee.

The entrance of a Moon by one synodic period. Note that in serve to rocking behind and onward (libration) and side-to-side (nutation), a Moon appears to bloat and cringe in size. Wikimedia Commons striking in a open Domain.

The entrance of a Moon by one synodic period. Note that in serve to rocking behind and onward (libration) and side-to-side (nutation), a Moon appears to bloat and cringe in size. Wikimedia Commons striking in a Public Domain.

And don’t fear a ‘Green Moon,’ and rumors going ’round ye’ ole internet that guarantee a cloyed Moon will start in Apr or May; this is 100% non-reality based, seeking to join a legends of Super, Blood, and Full Moons, Black and Blue.

Image calculated by: David Dickinson.

No. Just. No. Image calculated by: David Dickinson.

The Apr Full Moon is also famous as a Full Pink Moon to a Algonquin Indians. The Apr Full Moon, can, on arise be a Full Moon ushering in Easter (known as a Paschal Moon) as per a order determined by a 325 AD legislature of Nicaea, saying Easter falls on a initial Sunday after a initial Full Moon after a bound date of a Vernal Equinox of Mar 21st. Easter can therefore tumble as late as Apr 25th, as subsequent occurs on 2038. The destiny calculation of Easter by a Church gets a Latin supervillain-sounding name of Computus.

April 21st. Image credit: Stellarium

Looking easterly on a dusk of Apr 21st. Image credit: Stellarium

Of course, a astronomical vernal equinox doesn’t always tumble on Mar 21st, and to mystify matters even further, a Eastern Orthodox Church uses a comparison Julian Calendar and therefore, Easter doesn’t always align with a complicated western Gregorian calendar used by a Roman Catholic Church.

The Moon can emanate serve complications in complicated timekeeping as well.

Here’s one smashing instance we recently schooled of in a stream travels. The Islamic calendar is exclusively formed on a synodic cycle of a Moon, and loses 11 days a year in propinquity to a Gregorian solar calendar. Now, Morocco strictly adopted Daylight Saving (or Summer) Time in 2007, opting to make a open brazen during a final weekend of March, as does a European Union to a north. However, a nation reverts behind to customary time during a month of Ramadan… otherwise, a mangle in a daily quick during summer months would tumble towards internal midnight.

You can see a extraordinary destiny conditions developing. In 2016, Ramadan runs from dusk Jun 5th, to Jul 4th. Each cycle starts with a sighting of a skinny waxing crescent Moon. However, as Ramadan falls earlier, you’ll get a weird unfolding such as 2022, when Morocco springs brazen on Mar 27th, customarily to tumble behind to customary time 6 days after on Apr 2nd on a start of Ramadan, customarily to burst brazen again one lunation after on Apr 30th!

Morocco is a customarily nation we’ve come opposite in a travels that follows such a involved gathering of timekeeping.

Fun fact #2: a subsequent ‘Mini-Moon’ featuring a lunar eclipse occurs on Jul 27th 2018.

And a Spring Mini-Moon sets us adult for Supermoon deteriorate 6 months after this entrance October-November-December. Though lunar perigees reduction than 24 hours from Full customarily start as a trio, an round reduction than 24 hours from Full is scarcely always a unique affair, overdue to a somewhat slower suit of a Moon during a over distance.

Don’t skip a shrunken Mini-Moon rising on a evenings of Thursday Apr 21st and Friday 22nd, entrance to a sky nearby you.

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David Dickinson is an Earth scholarship teacher, freelance scholarship writer, late USAF maestro backyard astronomer. He now writes and ponders a star as he travels a universe with his wife.

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