A new photo gallery in New Scientst provides seven gorgeous photos informing its readers of the most recent updates in astronomical research. It starts off with the largest Moon the Earth has witnessed since 1933. On Saturday of mid-March of this year, the Moon’s perigee (when it is closest to the Earth) was the closest it has been for nearly eighty years. I remember seeing its gorgeous presence looming in the sky a couple of weeks ago. Now, we must sit and watch our massive satellite shrink as it moves along its elliptical orbit towards apogee (when the Moon is furthest from the Earth). The variation in our Moon’s angular size is due to its elliptical orbit. All satellites follow elliptical orbits, which can be expressed through Kepler’s Second Law. Before Johannes Kepler, astronomers/astrologers believed that any satellite revolved on circular paths. Kepler gets the credit for discovering satellite’s elliptical paths, but this counterintuitive behavior was not explained until Isaac Newton and his apple came into the physics scene.

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