By: Adellaide Nelson, Opinion Editor
2018 is a big year for the moon. You’ve probably heard about the supermoon on New Year’s Day (or night). People all over the world took pictures in which the moon appeared to be much bigger than usual. Also known as a Wolf Moon, a supermoon occurs whenever there is a full moon at the perigree of the moon cycle—when the moon is closest to the Earth. And even though everyone thinks this is a big, unusual event, it’s actually not that uncommon. There can be up to 6 supermoons in a year.
The cycle of the moon takes approximately 29 days, or four weeks. That means that a full moon occurs every month, or four in every season. But because a month is longer than a moon cycle, there are occasionally 13 full moons in one year. Such is the case with the New Year, 2018. A full moon occurred on January 1st, and because it was at its closest point in its cycle, it was a tiny bit closer. It did not appear bigger to the naked eye, though, although when people hear that it’s bigger, they think it is. It’s a perceptual illusion. In reality, ‘supermoon’ is a misnomer. It’s like going from a 14-inch pizza to a 15-inch pizza and calling it a super pizza.
One supermoon is not the only unusual moon event happening this year. January is also a Blue moon month—there will be a second full moon on the 31st. This will also be called a supermoon because it will still be close to perigree. According to the old Algonquin titles, it will be a Snow moon. A blue moon in January also means that February won’t get a full moon. The next full moon will be on March 1st, called the Worm moon. And 29 and a half days later, we’ll see yet another full moon—on March 31st, the Pink moon will be the fourth full moon in three months. This is very unusual. Two blue moons will not occur again for 19 years, in 2037.
Even if the moon isn’t actually super big and bright, it’s still a phenomenon. So don’t miss a spectacular sky whenever there’s a full moon. But if you do miss it, no sweat—there’ll be another one soon.
News Editor: Elizabeth Needham, Emanuel Abebe
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