Perigean lycanthropy fallacious, says BBC News

The Moon is particularly close to the Earth at present – at its closest, in fact. Its orbit is not circular, rather with an eccentricity of over 5%, and so as it describes its elliptical path it is at some times much nearer the Earth than at others. This difference of about 50000km quite a difference in the Moon’s apparent size (as well as to its tidal influence on the Earth), but it’s not as obvious as it might be to the casual viewer, probably for two reasons – one is that it happens over a protracted period, and so the difference is gradual; and the other is that there is nothing in the sky against which to compare it (this is thought to be the probably reason the Moon looks much bigger when it’s near the horizon).

Apart from being an interesting phenomenon, and one of the astronomical events which is easy to see with the naked eye, you will be pleased to know that ‘Scientists have dismissed the idea the perigee could cause strange behaviour – like lycanthropy – or natural disasters’. So kind of the BBC News website to let us know that the Moon’s tidal forces are not going to rip mountains apart, and that if you see a particularly hairy person this morning then, if they happen to be a werewolf, it’s not due to the perigee of the Moon. So no need to let that prey on your mind.

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