Saturday, June 22, 2013
Tonight's ~ or more precisely, tomorrow morning's ~ full moon is called a Super Moon. Extensive discussions on the internet and in print revolve around whether or not that claim is true. By definition, a Super Moon is a perigee moon: at its closest point to the Earth at the same time, or nearly the same time, as it is at its fullest. It's all a matter of language.
My best guess would be that the term Super Moon has arrived in our language as a result of the current popularity of vampire and werewolf novels which place considerable focus on the full moon. Tonight's full moon will be closer to the Earth than it was last month, yet the likelihood that most people observing the night sky would notice a size difference is negligible. Hence, the birth of a new term to make us "ooh" and "aah" as though we have noticed ~ or as though it's something that hasn't happened in a long time: dozens, if not hundreds, of years. That's just not true.
So what's more important: the coinage of a new term that creates more observers of the perigee moon phenomenon? or the truth that it happens multiple times in our lives, perhaps even every year?