This past Saturday evening was the night before the vernal equinox, and it was a super full moon. According to the NASA website I checked out, this phenomenon occurs every 18 years or so when the moon’s elliptical orbit brings it as close to the earth as it gets—at which point (the perigee of its orbit) it’s over 30,000 miles closer to the earth than at the apogee (farthest point from the earth) of its orbit. Those 30,000 miles make a full moon 14% bigger and 30% brighter.
Now the moon’s orbit around the earth actually brings it through its perigee every 27 days or so, so the moon will be that close to us again next month, but it will be 2029 before it’s that close again as a full moon.
My daughter had one of her best friends over for a sleepover that night. As night settled in and bedtime approached, my wife suggested they go out to see the moon. They will be young women before they get to see such a sight again—assuming a clear night in 2029! As I wasn’t there, my wife shared with me the image of two little girls sitting on the sidewalk, on the corner of our street, leaning into each other, arms slung around each other, looking up at the sky in wonder.
May our careful stewardship of their future preserve that precious sense of wonder.