Home/ Science / News/  Tonight, Moon will be closest to Earth first time in 993 years

On January 21, for the first time in 993 years. Last time, it was this close was in the year 1030. The next time it will be this close to Earth is in 345 years, in the year 2368, as per timeanddate.com.

The orbit of the Moon around the Earth is not a perfect circle. It is elliptical in shape instead, resembling a slightly stretched circle. This indicates that the distance between the Moon and Earth varies throughout a month. The closest point to Earth on the Moon's orbit is known as perigee, and the farthest point is known as apogee.

Three New Moons in the past 2000 years have occurred at distances of less than 356,570 kilometres, as per timeanddate.com.

Venus and Saturn will also be in alignment the day following the new moon. Both planets would fit within the same area of vision in most binoculars and some telescopes. The two can also be seen with the unaided eye or a pair of binoculars.

The New Moon tonight is culturally significant because it marks the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year and the "Year of the Rabbit", even though there won't be much to see or observe. The Chinese Lunar New Year event, also known as Spring Festival, has been observed in China for thousands of years. It is based on a complex calendar that combines both the lunar and solar systems to determine dates.

The Moon's distance from Earth during such an occurrence is essential. A total solar eclipse, which will next occur on April 20 in Australia, Timor Leste, and West Papua, will result if it is sufficiently close to Earth. An annular solar eclipse, which will occur next in the US, Mexico and South America in October, results from the New Moon's inability to totally cover the Sun if it is relatively far away and hence seems smaller.

Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and social media. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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Updated: 21 Jan 2023, 10:21 AM IST
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