Tonight's Sky
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The Moon stands front and center

September 2006: The Moon shoulders a series of superlatives this month — biggest, lowest, strongest — not to mention taking part in two eclipses.
The Moon shoulders a series of superlatives this month — biggest, lowest, strongest — not to mention taking part in two eclipses. Its egg-shape orbit grooves like a hula dance to a multitude of different beats, some of which fall into step this month. Every 27.55 days, the Moon swings closer to Earth and then loops farther away in an unending cycle of perigees and apogees. This orbital period is a bit out of step with the 29.53 days it takes Luna to go from Full Moon to Full Moon. These two rhythms come into sync September 7, when the Moon scores its second-closest perigee of the year within hours of reaching full phase. This makes it the biggest Full Moon of 2006, 14-percent larger than February's puny fullness. Observers in coastal areas will experience the year's strongest tides.

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