On Saturday, the new moon will be the closest to Earth since the Middle Ages. According to timeanddate.com calculations, the New Moon has not been this close to us in 993 years and will not be this close to us for another 345 years.
The New Moon, due to its proximity to Earth, will be the largest it has appeared in the sky since Dec. 3, 1030 AD, according to revised timing and data from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The next closest approach will be on January 21, when the Moon will be 356,568 kilometers (221,561 miles) from Earth. After that, you’ll have to wait until January 20, 2368 to experience it.
Why so close? The Earth’s orbit of the Moon is not an orderly circle – your little toy solar system you keep on your desk is lying to you. The orbit is elliptical, which means that sometimes the Moon is closer or further away, the most extreme point being known as “apogee” and the closest called “perigee”.
“If perigee or apogee coincides with a New or Full Moon—when the Earth, Moon, and Sun are aligned—the Moon’s closest and farthest distances become more extreme,” timeanddate explains.
The most extreme distances between the Earth and the Moon occur when the Earth is closest to the Sun, which occurred this year on January 4.
Of course, there’s no point in telling you to look for this one, because the New Moon phase is when the Moon disappears from our view for a few days and is invisible to the naked eye. However, if you look up in February, you’ll see an object not seen since Neanderthal times, so keep those neck muscles loose.