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Two Perigee New Moons in January 2014

Yes, two New Moons occur within the span of a single calendar month in January 2014, on January 1 and 30. But that's not all. The Moon also reaches perigee - the Moon's closest point to Earth in its orbit on the same dates: January 1 and 30. Yes, the New Moon aligns with lunar perigee twice in January 2014!

Image credit: NASA

Incidentally, the Earth sweeps to perihelion - its closest point to the Sun for the year - on January 4, 2014 (147,104,781 kilometers or 91,406,673 miles). Earth at perihelion comes about 5 million kilometers or 3 million miles closer to the Sun in early January than when Earth swings out to aphelion - its farthest point from the Sun - in early July.

And in January 2014, the Moon turns full on January 16, to closely coincide with lunar apogee - the Moon's farthest point from Earth in its orbit. At apogee on January 16, the Moon swings a bit farther than 406,500 kilometers (252,600 miles) away. Both January 2014 perigees lie approximately 357,000 kilometers (221,800 miles) distant, with the first of the two being slightly closer.

Perigees and Apogees in 2014:

Image credit: Lunar Perigee and Apogee Calculator

The above chart gives the dates for the perigees and apogees in 2014. Amazingly enough, two years later - in 2016 - the 2016 perigees will take place on or near the same dates as the 2014 apogees, and vice versa. See chart below.

Note, also, that the major phase preceding the New Moon - the Last Quarter Moon - almost falls on or near the same calendar dates in 2016 as the New Moon does in 2014. Moreover, the first two Last Quarter Moons of 2016 closely coincide with the two January 2016 apogees.

Perigees and Apogees in 2016:

Moon Phases 2016:

Image credit: Moon at Perigee and Apogee: 2001 to 2100 and Phases of the Moon: 2001 to 2100

Looking Ahead to 2018

Again, we can presume that in another two years - two years after 2016 - the perigees and apogees will again swap places in 2018. Or, if it's easier to remember, the perigees and apogees recur on or near the same calendar dates every four years (2014 and 2018 and 2022).

Also, in 2018, we can expect the major phase before the Last Quarter Moon - the Full Moon - to fall on or near the same calendar dates as the 2016 Last Quarter Moons. Surprise! Surprise! The January 2018 Full Moons fall on or near the same dates as lunar perigee. See below.

Perigees and Apogees in 2018:

Yes, it'll be a Blue Moon spectacular in January 2018...

copyright 2013 by Bruce McClure

Two supermoons in one month: January 1 and 30, 2014

December 2013 Feature * February 2014 Feature