Moon is the fifth-largest natural satellite in our solar system. It is the brightest and the biggest celestial body that we see in the sky. But, have you ever wondered how much exactly is the distance between Earth and Moon?
Moon is actually the closest celestial body from Earth. Still, it is quite far away. The average distance between Earth and Moon is 384,400 km (238,855 miles). To get your imagination going, this distance is 86 times the distance between New York and Las vegas or 110 times the distance between Kashmir and Kanyakumari.
In the above paragraph, the average distance is mentioned as this distance is not constant as the moon revolves around our planet. Moon moves in an elliptical orbit with Earth, not at the center of the ellipse. At one point known as Perigee, the moon is closest to Earth. The point where the moon is farthest away from the Earth is called Apogee.
On top of that, the distance of apogee and perigee keeps changing for every revolution of the moon around the Earth. The average distance of perigee from Earth is 363,300 km (225744.154 miles) and the average distance of apogee from Earth is 405,400 km (251904 miles).
Moon is known as a supermoon when it is in the new moon or full moon phase and it is close to the perigee position. When a full moon is close to the perigee, it appears relatively bigger. The supermoon occurrence gives photographers a chance to showcase their skills. However, do not get fooled by the photos that are circulated online in which the moon appears huge as compared with the surroundings. These photos are taken with a telephoto lens and are not a correct representation of the night sky.
Perigean spring tide
Spring tides occur when the moon is in the new moon or full moon phase. During spring tides, the tidal forces from the Sun and the moon add up to create a greater tidal range. The tidal range is the height difference between high tide and low tide. The spring tides that occur when the moon is near the perigee are known as perigean spring tides. During the perigean spring tides, the tidal forces are maximum.
Did you know: Moon is slowly moving away from the Earth. Each year it moves about 3.78 cm (1.49 inches) farther.