The “small moon” phenomenon is known to be completely opposite to the “giant moon” phenomenon that occurs when the moon appears larger and fuller in the sky than usual, because of its proximity to the Earth.
In this new moon phase, the moon was the farthest distance from Earth this year, 406,662 km away.
The new moon was completely invisible in the sky on Tuesday morning, March 24th, as it appeared at 5:28 am GMT.
This means that nights on both sides of the new moon will be particularly dark, providing ideal conditions for star viewing.
The moon revolves around an elliptical path, which means that one side is closer to Earth than the other.
The closest point in an orbit is called rock bottom, which creates an unusually large “giant”, while the furthest point is called an apogee, producing a small moon.
And since the small moon is far away, it appears about 14% smaller than the giant moon, and since its luminous area also appears 30% smaller, it tends to appear less bright.
The small moon is approximately 7% smaller than the average moon size, while the giant moon is 7% larger than the full moon.
And since Tuesday’s little moon is a new moon, its side facing the Earth is not illuminated by the sun, making it invisible with or without telescopes or binoculars.
The last time the new moon was too far from Earth was on March 14, 2002, while it will not be very far from Earth again until November 20, 2025 when it reaches 406,683 km, said Daniel Brown, astronomer at Nottingham Trent University.
While this new moon phase is the farthest from Earth in 2020, the farthest full moon of this year will happen on October 31, when the moon is 406,166 km away from Earth.
Source: Daily Mail