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Ugly1

Brightest Moon I've ever seen tonight. 12/16

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Go look! I've never seen it so bright (I'm in Texas). Hope you get to see it like we do.

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Yep, just rising now (from behind a high ridge). Very bright, very pretty.

I suspect the brightness might be (at least partly) because the Earth is getting close to its closest approach to the Sun - perihelion is on the 3rd of January.

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I suspect the brightness might be (at least partly) because the Earth is getting close to its closest approach to the Sun - perihelion is on the 3rd of January.

The degree of difference that would make to the brightness of the Moon is negligible. The difference between maximum and minimum distance from the sun is around 3%, not enough to notice the difference.

Full moon (which it currently is) makes far more of a difference.

A 95-percent illuminated moon appears half as bright as a full moon

Believe it or not, the moon is half as bright as a full moon about 2.4 days before and after a full moon. Even though about 95 percent of the moon is illuminated at this time, and to most casual observers it might still look like a "full" moon, its brightness is roughly 0.7 magnitudes less than at full phase, making it appear one-half as bright.

Source: Space.com

Also, being winter in the northern hemisphere can make a difference. In the winter there tends to be less atmospheric haze and so objects in the night sky (not just the Moon) can look brighter. Add to this the fact that the sky gets darker for longer as there is longer between sunrise and sunset (around mid-summer there is no true dark night sky, dusk blend into dawn).

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