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What Is a Micromoon?

A micro full Moon is the name given to a full Moon that occurs when the moon is farthest from the Earth, apogee. It's also known as Micro Full Moon and Apogee Moon.

Illustration image
Micro Moon: A full moon at perigee
A Micromoon looks around 14 percent smaller and 30 percent less bright than a Supermoon.
©iStockphoto.com/Wouter van Caspel

The Next Micromoons

YearDate
2015Thursday, March 5
2016Friday, April 22
2017Friday, June 9

The Moon orbits the Earth in an elliptical path, wich means one side of the path is closer to the Earth than the other. The point closest to the Earth is called perigee, while the point farthest from the Earth is known as apogee. The average distance between these two points is 382,500 km or 237,700 miles.

When a ull Moon is at apogee it's called a Micromoon, Minimoon or Apogee Moon. The opposite, when there's a full Moon at perigee, it's called a Supermoon

Looks Smaller

A Micromoon looks approximately 14 percent smaller, and around 30 percent less bright than a Supermoon. In reality however, there is no significant difference in the actual size of the Moon whether it is a supermoon, a Micromoon or an ordinary full Moon.

Defining a Micromoon

There are no universal rules as to how far away the Moon must be to qualify as a Micromoon. timeanddate.com uses the following definition:

  • If it is further away than 400,000 kilometers at apogee, it is listed as a Micromoon.
  • If a full moon is closer than 360,000 kilometers at perigee, it’s called a Super Full Moon.

Effects on Earth

The Moon’s gravitational pull affects tides on earth. When the Moon is closer to the Earth – perigee – the gravitational pull leads to high tides and a larger variation between high and low tides. On the other hand, when the Moon is at apogee, the lower gravitational pull leads to low tides and a smaller variation between high and low tides. This tidal effect is the same regardless of which phase the Moon is in.

Old folklore accounts suggest that full Moons and Micromoons affect human mental health and bring on natural disasters, like earth quakes, but no scientific evidence supports any such correlation.

Topics: Astronomy, Moon

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All about the Moon

  1. Moonphases worldwide
  2. Phases of the Moon
  3. What is a Supermoon?
  4. Micro Moon versus Supermoon
  5. Is a Blue Moon blue?
  6. The Moon's orbit
  7. What is a Black Moon?
  8. What are Moonbows?
  9. Full Moon names

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