Mini-moon: the smallest moon of 2014 will appear in skies on Wedneday evening

The moon will reach its apogee three hours after it rises

The first moon of the New Year will rise on Wednesday evening, but rather than starting 2014 with a bang, the skies will showcase the smallest moon of the year.

Star-gazers will be able to see the moon from 4:12pm. It will reach its apogee – or its further point from Earth in its orbit– approximately three hours after.

This will be the closest a full moon has been to its exact time of apogee since November 1994, and will not be as close again until 2052.

The moon is on average 384,400km away from Earth, but at its apogee it is about 405,500km away. While it is in perigee, or its closest point, it is 363,300 km away and appears giant.

The mini-moon will appear 4 per cent smaller than the average moon, and around 14 per cent smaller than the moon will appear when in perigee on 10 August.

The moon rises behind the London Eye at twilight in 2012. The moon rises behind the London Eye at twilight in 2012.  

Spotting the micro-moon may be tricky in the UK as the Met office predicts a generally cloudy day and rain at times, especially over eastern and central parts. Rain is forecast in London and the south east.

This celestial trick is known as Wolf Moon in the northern and eastern parts of the United States, because wolves would howl with hunger in the winter months according to Native American tradition.

According to National Geographic, another sight for astronomers to watch out for is the constellation Leo brushing past the moon on Saturday18 January.

Read more: Life could exist 'much further from the sun' than previously thought, scientists say

 

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