Our Moon orbits around the Sun with the Earth and from our perspective on the Earth the Moon appears to circle Earth each month. The Moon also has a slightly elliptical-shaped orbit allowing for the Moon to have a furthest (apogee) and closest (perigee) distance from the Earth each month.
Click on graphic to see it full size.
This month the 14.7 days old full Moon reaches apogee today, 15 January – 9pm CST (16 January – 2 UT), and will more or less be at a distance of 31.87 Earth diameters (406,113 km or 252,347 miles). Since full Moon phase occurs almost 3 hours after apogee this month’s full Moon could qualify as a mini full Moon.
The Banner picture at the top of the page is cropped from a picture I took last night.
A recognizable star pattern that is not a constellation is called an asterism. Rising ahead of the Moon is an asterism known as the ‘Winter Hexagon’. It is a 6-sided pattern made up the bright stars form six different constellations; Orion (Rigel), Taurus (Aldebaran), Auriga (Capella), Gemini (Castor and Pollux), Canis Minor (Procyon), and Canis Major (Sirius).
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.