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The Urban Astronomer

Solstice and Super Moon: Transitions

21 Jun 2013, 15:07 UTC
Solstice and Super Moon: Transitions
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

We have two special moments this week in the heavens, moments that attract public attention because they are transition points in the cycles of nature. As Earth orbits the Sun, and the Moon orbits the Earth, we are aware of changes in the relationship between these bodies, and the special alignments that come and go. This week, we experience the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere, and also a Super Moon, a full moon that coincides with the closest approach of the Moon to Earth.Solstice is a special moment, driven by the Earth's tilt with respect to its orbit around the Sun. The 23 degree tilt of Earth's axis brings about considerable change in the length of time the Sun is above the horizon, and obviously that affects weather, and affects how people live, in particular in northern latitudes. Solstice marks the seasonal shift from lengthening days to shortening days. June 21st marks the moment this year when that happens.Super Moons are a popular thing now, and this too marks a special moment, a transition in the Moon's orbit around the Earth when the Moon reaches the closest point on its elliptical path, and appears larger in the sky. Along ...

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