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Re: OSCAR 0 News

Apparently the December 22 moon message floating around the Internet
is only partially correct, as this story from http://www.nandotimes.com

Hank, N1LTV

 WASHINGTON (December 17, 1999 10:48 a.m. EST 

 The final full moon of the millennium comes Dec. 22 on the first day of 
 winter and during the closest lunar approach to the Earth, but the 
 combination is not as rare as some people have thought, experts say.
 Sky and Telescope magazine reports on its Web site that people have
 been sending e-mail and faxes insisting that the combination of
 closeness to Earth and the winter solstice will make next Wednesday's
 full moon the brightest in more than a century.
 Not so, says Roger W. Sinnott, associate editor of the magazine.
 Approximately the same combination of things happened in December
 1991, and it was very close to the same in December 1980. Furthermore,
 the full moon passed nearer to the Earth in 1930 and 1912 than in this
 year, Sky & Telescope says.
 "This is a cool combination of things and the poet in me loves it,"
 Sten Oldenwald, an astronomer who works for Raytheon at the Goddard
 Space Flight Center in Maryland, said in an interview Thursday. "But
 it is not particularly rare."
 The winter solstice, which occurs when the tilt of the Earth's axis
 puts the sun directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, comes every
 December. It marks the first day of winter. Oldenwald said it is not
 unusual for the full moon to come within 24 hours of the solstice.
 Perigee, when the moon is closest to the Earth, also happens quite
 often in December, he said.
 "About every 10 years or so you will get approximately this
 combination," he said. "It will happen five to seven times in a
 The full moon on Wednesday will be at its closest approach to Earth in
 about 70 years, but it will take an exceedingly sharp eye to spot any
 difference from an average full moon, Oldenwald said.
 The moon makes an elliptical orbit of the Earth, ranging on average
 from about 227,000 miles away at the closest to about 254,000 miles at
 the farthest. On Wednesday night, the full moon will be 221,620 miles
 from Earth.
 In January, 1930, the full moon perigee was about 160 miles closer,
 according to Sky & Telescope. The magazine said the record closeness
 for a full moon was on Jan. 4, 1912, when the lunar sphere was 221,447
 miles from Earth.
 "The full moon would have been about 25 percent brighter than average
 in 1912," said Oldenwald, "but I doubt that you could have told the
 difference with the naked eye."
 People living near the ocean may notice that the tides may run
 slightly higher than normal on Wednesday because of the perigee full
 moon, said Oldenwald. But even that is not unusual.
 "Beach front property owners should be attuned to it," said Oldenwald.
 "If you live on the beach and you remember 1991 when this last
 happened, well it is going to happen again."
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