That's because it's about 31,000 miles more distant than 2015's other full moons.

Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com

Tonight is the full "Worm Moon," but it might not be that impressive. Heck, you probably shouldn't even bother glancing up. Due to an alignment of phase and distance, the lunar orb could look weirdly shrunken, like a gray, moldy apple forgotten on the counter.

That's because the moon is baring it all at its farthest point from earth—about 31,000 miles more distant than 2015's other full moons. The rocky satellite's orbit is elliptical; when it's at perigee closest to the planet, it can look bigger, and when it wanders to its most-distant apogee it can seem smaller. When it reaches its full phase at apogee some folks call it a "micromoon." That pop-culture term distinguishes it from its opposite partner, the "supermoon," an astrological bugbear supposedly responsible for earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. (That's rubbish, of course.)

The upshot is that the full moon will be less bright and fat, as depicted in this mock-up from Alan Dyer at Amazing Sky:

NASA

Don't you just want to pat the left one condescendingly on the head? But though the differences look stark here, up in the celestial dome it might be more subtle. Explains Tony Phillips at Spaceweather:

Can you tell the difference? Some people say "yes," others "no." There are no rulers floating in the sky to measure lunar diameters. Without a reference, it can be challenging to distinguish an apogee Moon from a perigee Moon. Decide for yourself. Go outside after sunset on March 5th, look east, and enjoy the mini-moonlight.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    Berlin Builds an Arsenal of Ideas to Stage a Housing Revolution

    The proposals might seem radical—from banning huge corporate landlords to freezing rents for five years—but polls show the public is ready for something dramatic.

  2. Design

    A History of the American Public Library

    A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be.

  3. Maps

    Mapping the Growing Gap Between Job Seekers and Employers

    Mapping job openings with available employees in major U.S. cities reveals a striking spatial mismatch, according to a new Urban Institute report.

  4. A photo of a design maquette for the Obama Presidential Center planned for Jackson Park and designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.
    Design

    Why the Case Against the Obama Presidential Center Is So Important

    A judge has ruled that a lawsuit brought by Chicago preservationists can proceed, dealing a blow to Barack Obama's plans to build his library in Jackson Park.

  5. Design

    The Curious Politics of a Montreal Mega-Mall

    The car-dependent suburb it’ll be built in wants to greenlight Royalmount against the city government’s wishes but it needs them to pay for the public infrastructure.