Full Moon occurs Friday, April 22. We tend to take it for granted these days, but who among us isn’t pleased to see the Moon big and bright? We only get to see the Full Moon every 27 days, 7 hours, 43 minutes, although for a couple of nights before and after it looks nearly full.

Not all Full Moons are the same.

The orbit of the Moon is elliptical in shape; its closest approach every month is referred to as “perigee,” 221,802 miles away. The farthest point is called “apogee,” 252,622 miles from Earth. The difference in apparent size is only about three percent, which is hardly noticeable. The average distance is 238,857 miles.

When the Moon is low on the horizon it seems to be bigger than when it is up high. This is actually an illusion, caused by having the landscape by which to compare it. Actually, the Moon on the horizon is farther from you then when it is high in the sky. At moonrise or moon set, you can also see the reddish color and distortions caused by refraction of light in the Earth’s atmosphere.

It seems sad to some of us that calendars do not necessarily give the phase of the Moon.

Of course few of us really NEED to know the Moon’s phase, unlike in the days of our forefathers who may have farmed by moonlight or used the moon as a navigational aid. Much has been lost by our swift, electrified age. It is not only the scourge of light pollution which takes away the full impact of a star studded night unless you live far away from population centers. Ever walk down a street lit by street lights, and see the bright Moon in the sky? It is still nice to see, but if we don’t miss something, this is a sign of the times we live. In yesteryear, we expected to the road to be DARK if there was no Moon, and LIT if the Moon was out.

Of course, there is no denying the advantages of street lighting, but for a special treat, try and get out on a country road sometime under the light of the Moon.

Then again, the view of the rising Moon over the Route 6 Plaza, when coming down the hill on Route 6 from Honesdale, Pennsylvania can be impressive. You likely have a spot where you frequently travel and enjoy the moonrise. One of these evenings try and catch the rising Moon within the Golden Arches (be sure you have pulled over in the parking lot to do this).

You can also be creative with the camera and try and get a shot with the Moon (it doesn’t have to be full) perched on top a church steeple, on a bridge with cars in silhouette passing in front, etc.

The Full Moon has long been associated with romance and has inspired a host of love songs. Hopefully with our modern ways, the Full Moon hasn’t been lost on love.

Watch the Moon slide past the bright planet Jupiter this weekend. On April 17, the gibbous Moon will be a short distance below it.

Keep looking up!

— Peter Becker is Managing Editor at The News Eagle in Hawley, Pennsylvania. Notes are welcome at news@neagle.com. Please mention in what newspaper or web site you read this column.