The National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT) has announced that on the night of April 22, Thailand will experience the smallest full moon of the year, as the Moon reaches its farthest point in orbit around the Earth.
NARIT Deputy Director Saran Potyachinda explained that the full moon on April 22 coincides with the Moon’s farthest point from the Earth at 406,248 kilometers at 12:25pm Bangkok time.
This will result with the smallest full moon visible this year called a ‘Micro Moon’. The size of the Micro Moon as seen on Earth is 14% smaller and 30% dimmer when compared with the ‘Super Moon’, which occurs when the Moon reaches its closest point in orbit.
The phenomenon is relatively rare, as the next Micro Moon will occur on June 9, 2017 with a distance of 406,401 kilometers.
Meanwhile the upcoming Super Moon will happen on November 14, 2016, which coincides with Loy Krathong Day.
Dr. Saran also explained that the Moon orbits the Earth from west to east, taking a month to complete one cycle. The orbit is not a perfect circle but an ellipse, resulting in varying distances. In astronomy, the farthest point in the orbit is referred to as the apogee, while the closest point is referred to as the perigee.