The moon appeared smallest in size at 14 per cent smaller on full moon day Friday known as ‘Mini Moon’ phenomenon that occurs once in 15 years. It is the other extreme of ‘Supermoon’ phenomenon.
On Friday night at 9.35 PM IST, the moon was at apogee – the farthest point in its orbit from the earth at a distance of 4,06,350 km, instead of its usual 3,84,000 km away from the earth on other days.
The term ‘Mini Moon’ was coined in 1979 by astrologer Richard Nolle. Since it is farthest from the earth, the full moon appeared smaller than the average full moon, said Debiprosad Duari, Director of M P Birla Planetarium, Kolkata.
Sky-gazers were not able to see the mini moon in India at its peak as it happened to occur during the day time at 10.55 AM due to daylight. Unlike the rumors on social media, it was not ‘Pink Moon’ but a shade lighter than usual full moon and mostly pearl like in colour.
However, tthose who missed it have to wait until December 10, 2030 to see the Mini Moon again.
Since the moon does not orbit the Earth in a perfect circle, sometimes it is closer and sometimes it is farther. When full moon occurs when it is nearest to the earth it is ‘Super Moon’ and when the full moon occurs when the moon is farthest from the earth, then ‘Mini Moon’ occurs.
The difference between the two moons is about 30,000 miles, or roughly four times the Earth’s diameter. Simillarly, ocean tides will be one inch higher on Super Moon day and one inch less on Mini Moon day.