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Bright moon tonight; Rocket launch next weekend

November 04, 2017; 6:15 PM


AccuWeather Astronomy Facebook friend Deidre Horan sees the full moon early Saturday morning from Dublin, Ireland.

Last night, the Full "Beaver" Moon was a stunning sight! Part of it may have been due to the fact that it is the closest full moon we have had in months. The full moon occurred about 36 hours before lunar perigee. Next month, the full moon will occur less than 24 hours before lunar perigee, therefore it will be unofficially deemed a super moon.

The moon will shine very brightly tonight, where it is clear of course. As we head through the waning gibbous phase, the moon will rise around 50 minutes later each night. So, by next weekend, you won't see the moon in the sky until the midnight hour.


Donna Anderson sees the full moon last night.

I have been getting reports of the moon looking very large. In fact, it does look large as it rises, but it's an optical illusion. It only looks large because you have a landscape to compare it to. Higher in the sky, it simply just looks smaller even though it occupies the same area of the sky.


Image courtesy of Wikipedia. Check out their article about the Moon illusion

However, the color is different. As it is rising, the moonlight shines through a thicker part of the atmosphere, so it will appear more orange or even reddish. This is the same reason we have orange and red at sunset. The higher wavelength light is filtered out by the atmosphere, leaving only the longer wavelength visible light when it reaches our eyes. Red light has the longest wavelength of any visible light. This is why break lights and lights on high objects are red; they are simply seen easier at night than any other color.



NASA will launch a large, Antares rocket Saturday morning from the Flight Facility and Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Wallops Island, Virginia. The launch will occur just after daybreak Saturday. But, in their article, NASA says the launch will be visible hundreds of miles from the launch site, including places like New York City and Raleigh, N.C. We will fine-tune the forecast as the launch draws close.

Enjoy your time outside! Not too many things are free anymore; however, looking at the night sky is still one of those things. Thanks for reading! Just look up; you never know what you will see.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

More Dave Samuhel


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