- Full moon, December 22, 1999
- Cologne, Germany
- This year will be the first full
moon for 133 years to occur on the winter solstice, Dec. 22,
the first day of winter. Since a full moon on the winter solstice
occurs in conjunction with a lunar perigee (the point in the
moon's orbit that is closest to the Earth), the Moon will appear
about 14% larger than it does at apogee (the point in it's elliptical
orbit that is farthest from the Earth). Since the Earth is also
several million miles closer to the sun at this time of the year,
sunlight striking the moon is about 7% stronger, making it brighter.
This will also be the Moon's closest perigee this year since
its orbit is constantly deforming.
On December 21st. 1866, the Lakota Sioux
took advantage of this combination of occurrences and staged
a devastating retaliatory ambush on soldiers in the Wyoming Territory.
- - Hanna Arnold