The full moon can be a dazzling sight in the night sky, but did you know that it can dance?
A new time-lapse video from astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy has shown just that, the full moon seeming to dance in the sky for a whole year. There are no tricks involved, just Moon lurching in its orbit around the Earth, McCarthy wrote on Reddit (opens in a new tab)where he shared the video as animation on July 24.
“The perceived wobble of the moon is called ‘libration’ and is the result of the moon’s not-quite-circular orbit”, McCarthy wrote (opens in a new tab). “The rotation is due in part to the moon’s orbit being at an angle to the ecliptic, as well as the Earth’s axial tilt.”
McCarthy took a photo of Arizona’s full or near-full moon every month for a year when it was highest in the sky rather than when it was exactly full to accurately capture lunar libration. She also worked to preserve the scale of the moon so that it would appear the same size in the video.
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McCarthy also created a video of the moon’s changes during a single lunar month, which he shared on Instagram. That video is made up of “2 million photos of the moon for 26 days to see how she danced.” McCarthy wrote in that post. (opens in a new tab) starting March 9.
In his Reddit post, McCarthy said that he has photographed nearly every full moon over the last three years. You can see more examples of his amazing night sky photography. on his Instagram page (opens in a new tab), where it publishes as Cosmic Background. McCarthy also has a professional cosmic background website (opens in a new tab) where you can order copies of his astrophotography.
McCarthy’s lunar libration video animation offers a stunning look at how the moon changes over time from month to month in its orbit. On average, the distance from the earth to the moon it is approximately 238,855 miles (384,400 kilometers). Since the moon’s orbit is not a perfect circle, there are places in the orbit where it is closer to Earth and others where it is further away.
At perigee, the moon is closest to Earth during the month, a distance of about 226,000 miles (363,300 km). The moon is furthest away when it reaches apogee, which is about 251,000 miles (405,500 km) from Earth. The moon is also currently moving away from Earth at a rate of about 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) a year.
Our detailed guide to observe the moon it can also help you plan your next photo shoot of Earth’s lunar neighbor. If you are looking for a telescope or binoculars to observe the moon, our guides for the best binocular deals and the The best telescope deals now they are a great place to start. Our best cameras for astrophotography Y best lenses for astrophotography has helpful tips on the equipment you’ll need to capture your next skygazing view on your own.
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