NASA'S SCIENTIFIC VISUALIZATION STUDIO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA'S SCIENTIFIC VISUALIZATION STUDIO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
An animated diagram of the Moon's distance from the Earth for 2015. The sizes and distances are true to scale, and the lighting and tilt are correct. The Moon's orbit around the Earth is slightly elliptical. Over the course of a year, the Moon's distance from the Earth varies between 28 and 32 Earth diameters, or about 356,400 and 406,700 kilometers. In each orbit, the smallest distance is called perigee, and the greatest distance is called apogee. The Moon looks largest at perigee because that's when it's closest to us. The animation follows the imaginary line connecting the Earth and the Moon as it sweeps around the Moon's orbit. From this vantage point, it's easy to see the variation in the Moon's distance.
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