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Thursday, January 4

The whole of the moon . . well not quite

Last night was a full moon, but every one is slightly different due to the distance from the earth to the moon (which changes the apparent size of the moon) and also to libration which is the 'wobble' of the moon as it travels in it's orbit. The result of that libration is that over a period we can actualy see around 59% of the moon from the Earth, the rest being 'the far side of the moon'.

I haven't seen this demonstrated anywhere better than this animation of a series of photographs of 20 consecutive full moons compiled by French amateur astronomer Laurent Laveder. It was featured on Astronomy Picture of the Day yesterday.

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