Saturday, 5 May 2012

Luna- look-up

The biggest and brightest full moon of the year will light up the sky tonight as our celestial neighbour passes closer to Earth than usual. Tides are likely to be higher as a result of the moon being closer. The Moon will appear up to 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter as it passes 221,802 miles from earth, around 15,300 miles closer than average. Its distance from Earth varies because it follows an elliptical orbit rather than a circular one. The phenomenon is known as a perigee full moon but astronomers warn the 'relatively uncommon' celestial event may not amount to much.

Dr Robert Massey, of the Royal Astronomical Society, said: "The eye is so good at compensating for changes in brightness that you simply don't notice that element so much. What you may notice is that the Moon will be a little bit bigger." Dr Massey said "it could still be worth glancing up at the sky tonight, adding: 'The moon is always beautiful and a full moon is always dramatic. As well as a keen eye and clear weather, sky-watchers will also need to stay up late to notice a significant difference. The Moon is expected to appear at its best in the early hours of tomorrow morning at around 4.30am, just after it hits perigee - the point in its orbit when it is closest to Earth."

Next year's will be a bit farther away than this year's. However, it will bring unusually high tides because of its closeness and its alignment with the Sun and Earth. As Dr Massey explained: "When the moon is closest to the Earth and full or new, you get an increase in the tidal pull in the ocean because the gravity of the moon and the sun line-up."

Most people will know about the Titanic sinking a hundred years ago. However, at the same time a woman did a feat of flying and she was wiped from the pages of history. Have you heard of Harriet Quimby? <click hereHarriet Quimby - A Myth Obscured by Legend.

As the Diamond Jubilee river pageant sails past their office near Blackfriars Bridge, Unilever staff will enjoy an enviable view from the rooftop terrace. The company, which has held a Royal Warrant since 1964, is cashing in on the Queen's 60th anniversary celebrations with renamed products such as Ma'amite.

It is one among many companies which have refused to help with the £10.5million cost of hosting the event, attended by every senior member of the Royal Family. British companies have not felt able to contribute to the pageant, despite so many of them hosting corporate events on the river during the day.


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