Tim Chitwood: Supermoon turns tide on Snowbird

tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.comJuly 13, 2014 

The breeze along the river seems to say it's Monday Mail.

Birder

Today's opening is from the 1969 Anne Murray hit "Snowbird," the part that goes: "The breeze along the river seems to say that he'll only break my heart again should I decide to stay, so little snowbird take me with you when you go to that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow."

Mooned

So, did you catch that "supermoon" Saturday night? Was it big or what?

Actually it was the same size as always, but it was a full moon at perigee, as close to the Earth as it gets. And it gets close again Aug. 10 and Sept. 9.

As NASA explains in its online news service Science@NASA: "The scientific term for the phenomenon is 'perigee moon.' Full moons vary in size because of the oval shape of the moon's orbit. The moon follows an elliptical path around Earth with one side ('perigee') about 50,000 km closer than the other ('apogee'). Full moons that occur on the perigee side … seem extra big and bright."

I don't have to tell you how many miles 50,000 kilometers is (because I'm not looking it up).

Anyway, the Aug. 10 one is supposed to be extra special because it's full at the very hour the moon comes closest to Earth. If you catch it low on the horizon, it looks even bigger, though of course it is not.

NASA says perigee full moons come around about every 13 months, so if you miss these, don't worry: More will come later.

Personally, I think "Supermoon" would be a good name for an X-Men mutant who can alter the tides by dropping his pants with his butt turned to his enemies. A character like that could add a little levity to break up the tedious melodrama in those movies.

Trailed

Here's a thank you note from Jim Hall of the Pine Mountain Trail Association in reference to some recent newspaper reports:

Thanks so much. We always get a couple new volunteers when they read something in the Ledger about the Pine Mountain Trail, plus folks like to read things like this. It is a relief to read uplifting good things in Roving Reporter and Living instead of/in addition to all the crime things going on in our city!

As Tim would likely say, kind of like the old Anne Murray song "Little Good News" today.

Now Tim, that's a hint for column heading! Haven't listened to it in a while. Take a couple minutes.

Jim.

Dear Jim:

I prefer Anne Murray's "Snowbird." Singing it aloud makes me feel cooler while I'm summer hiking, soaked in sweat, sunscreen and bug spray.

But I don't get much time to hike these days because of all the crime news we have to cover.

Tim Chitwood, tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.com, 706-571-8508.

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