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Perigee Full Moon Over Osage County Kansas

By Hank Will, Editor-in-Chief


Tags: full moon, perigee moon, farms,

Last Saturday night, the moon rose larger than usual over our Osage County farm. This so-called perigee moon is named for the point in its elliptical orbit where it is closest to the earth (the opposite end is the apogee). Since the moon is closer to the earth, it appears larger, and brighter than usual.

Perigee Full Moon In Kansas

 We watched the moon rise through our pine grove as the sun was going down. It didn’t occur to me to run for the camera until the perigee moon was much higher in the sky. The light from that moon was sufficient to see the animals out on the pasture, but not sufficient for me to read the dials on my camera to shorten the exposure sufficiently to capture the crater shadows.

Perigee Moon over central Indiana -- shot at sunrise in 2007

The perigee occurs monthly, but for the moon to be full at the same time makes it a special event. This special moon looks most spectacular as earth’s eccentric companion pulls from the horizon, but January 10th's perigee moon, the largest-looking full moon for 2009 was breathtaking all night.

Click here for more photos of the perigee full moon.


Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on .

hank will_2
1/13/2009 1:42:07 PM

Very cool, Cindy. In my part of the world, I have some Lakotah friends who call the January moon the "Moon of the Terrible" and I think I have heard it called the Old moon too.


cindy murphy
1/12/2009 9:19:07 AM

Interesting you would post about the moon, Hank; I did the same this past weekend on another web-site. The Farmer's Alamac Weather Watcher's calendar said there would be a full moon in the sky on January 10th; it was listed as a "Full Wolf Moon". Native Americans kept track of the seasons by giving names to each recurring full moon. January's full moon was sometimes called the Old Moon, the Moon After Yule, or the Snow Moon... although the latter was what most tribes called February's full moon. The most common name for January's moon though, was the Full Wolf Moon. The moon appeared mid-winter, when the wolves during this lean-season howled hungrily on the out-skirts of villages. It made a very brief appearance here. I call my youngest daughter my Moonbaby - she's always loved the moon in all its phases, but especially when it's full. We always make it a point to check it out when I know there's going to be a full moon. She spotted it Saturday night - a perfect circle of illuminated light gray in a darker gray colored, cloudy sky. I told her about this particular moon being named the Wolf Moon, and she gave a little howl before it completely disappeared in the gray. I think she scared it. I didn't know it was a "perigee" moon though; interesting stuff.