©iStockphoto.com/Wouter van Caspel
The term micro moon refers to a full moon that occurs when the Moon is farthest from the Earth.
Contrary to popular belief, the Moon orbits the Earth in an elliptical path, with one side of the path closer to the Earth than the other. The point closest to the Earth is called the Perigee, while the point farthest from the Earth is known as the Apogee. The average distance between the two extreme points is 237,700 miles or 382,500 km.
When a full moon coincides with the Moon’s position at the Apogee, it is referred to as a micro moon or a mini moon. Sometimes also called an Apogee moon, a micro moon looks approximately 14 percent smaller, and around 30 percent less brighter than a super moon.
The last micro full moon occurred on November 28, 2012 and the next one will occur on January 16, 2014.
Use the Moon Distance Calculator to find out when the next micro full moon will occur in your location.
Effects on earth
Old wives tales and folklore accounts suggest that full moons and micro moons affect human mental health and bring on natural disasters. Scientists have not found any evidence for any such correlation.
It has been well documented, however, that the moon’s gravitational pull, among other forces, affects tides on earth. When the moon is closer to the Earth or at its Perigee, it exerts high gravitational pulls, leading to high tides and a larger variation between high and low tides. On the other hand, when the Moon is at its Apogee, it exerts its lowest gravitational pull, leading to low tides and a smaller variation between high and low tides. This is true irrespective of whether the Moon is a full moon while approaching these two extreme points.
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