Micro Moon – What is a Micro Moon?


What is a Micro Moon? A Micro Moon is the phenomenon where the moon is a “Full Moon” and is at its farthest point from earth during its yearly orbit, resulting in the appearance of a smaller and dimmer than normal moon (at least from our viewpoint). More specifically, a Micro Moon is the coincidence of a Full Moon or a New Moon with the farthest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the smallest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth. For comparison purposes NASA, a Supermoon is up to 14% larger and 30% brighter than a Micro Moon.

What is a Micro Moon, in more scientific terms?

Micro Moon

Micro Moon

Interestingly, the term Micro Moon is not used within the astrological community. The more scientific name for a Micro Moon is an Apogee Moon. Apogee means the point at which the Moon is farthest in its orbit to the Earth. Even more technically, a Micro Moon is the apogee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system. Syzygy is when the Earth, the Moon and the Sun are aligned, which happens at every Full Moon or New Moon. Got it? The result is that a Micro Moon can be regarded as the coincidence of the two, although they do not perfectly coincide each so. So, some Micro Moons are smaller than other Micro Moons.

Where did the name Micro Moons come from?

The term Micro Moon is not astronomical, but originated in modern astrology. Actually, we first have to start with the term “Supermoon,” which was invented by an astrologer named Richard Nolle in 1979. He arbitrarily defined the term Supermoon as follows:
…a new or full moon which occurs with the Moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit (perigee). In short, Earth, Moon and Sun are all in a line, with Moon in its nearest approach to Earth.
Once the term Supermoon was popularized, the community quickly adopted the term Micro Moon to describe Full Moons that smaller than normal Full Moons.

When do Micro Moons happen?

In case you are interested, the full moon cycle is the period between alignments of the lunar perigee with the sun and the earth, which is about about 411.8 days. With some simple math, we’ve calculated that approximately every 14th Full Moon will be a Micro Moon. However, there may be as many as three Micro Moons per full moon cycle since halfway through the cycle the Full Moon will be close to apogee, and the New Moons immediately before and after can be Micro Moons.

What qualifies as a Micro Moon?

There are no universal rules as to how far away the Moon must be to qualify as a Micro Moon. However, here are some general guidelines:
  • If it is further away than 400,000 kilometers at apogee, it is listed as a Micro Moon.
  • If a full moon is closer than 360,000 kilometers at perigee, it is considered a Supermoon.

Do Micro Moons affect the tides?

We are glad you asked. Since a Micro Moon is farther from Earth than a non-Micro Moon, the combined effect of the Sun and Moon on the Earth’s oceans (the “tide”) is at its weakest point. In general, the tide is greatest when the Moon is either a New Moon or a Full Moon, so a Micro Moon makes it just a little bit weaker. However, even at this powerful point, the force is still relatively weak, causing tidal differences of inches at most.

Do Micro Moons cause natural disasters?

We just learned about the somewhat minor effect a Micro Moon has on tides, but can a Micro Moon cause natural disasters? Well, the evidence is not convincing as no evidence has been found of any correlation between Micro Moons with major earthquakes. The theory is that the association of the Moon with both oceanic and crustal tides may lead to increased risk of events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. This is an interesting topic, so we will see if our astronomers and scientists can find anything conclusive.

Best place to view a Micro Moon?

The best place to view a Micro Moon is a place with clear skies!

Are Micro Moon dangerous?

Although there is some superstition about Micro Moon and Full Moons in general, a Micro Moon isn’t likely to bring about the end of life as we know it. Although it could bring out the werewolf in you.

Popular Full Moon Calendars

Some popular full moon calendars include the following: Moon Calendar 2011, Moon Calendar 2012, Moon Calendar 2013, Moon Calendar 2014, Moon Calendar 2015, Moon Calendar 2016, Moon Calendar 2017, Moon Calendar 2018, Moon Calendar 2019, Moon Calendar 2020.

You can also check out our Full Moon Calendar, Lunar Calendar, Lunar Eclipse Calendar and Solar Eclipse Calendar!

Full Moon Names History

Micro Moon

Micro Moon

Full Moon names have been used by many cultures to describe the full moon throughout the year. Specifically, Native American tribes used moon phases and cycles to keep track of the seasons by giving a distinctive name to each recurring full moon, including the Flower Moon. The unique full moon names were used to identify the entire month during which each occurred.

Although many Native American tribes gave distinct names to the full moon, the most well known full moon names come from the Algonquin tribes who lived in the area of New England and westward to Lake Superior. The Algonquin tribes had perhaps the greatest effect on the early European settlers in America, and the settlers adopted the Native American habit of naming the full moons.