EMail from Readers.

This past month IMaGe has received four notes of the same content, all having to do with the astronomical winter solstice of 1999.  We reprint the material, forwarded by:

Robert F. Austin
John D. Nystuen
James R. O'Neil
Sandra S. Westrin

in the table below.

"This year will be the first full moon to occur on the winter solstice [in 133 years], Dec.  22, commonly called the first day of winter. Since a full moon on the winter solstice occurs in conjunction with a lunar perigee (point in the moon's orbit that is closest to Earth) the moon will appear about 14% larger than it does at apogee (the point in its elliptical orbit that is farthest from the Earth). Since the Earth is also several million miles closer to the sun at this time of the year than in the summer, sunlight striking the moon is about 7% stronger, making it brighter.  Also, this will be the closest perigee of the moon of the year since the moon's orbit is constantly deforming. If the weather is clear and there is snow cover where you live, it is believed that even car headlights will be superfluous.  On December 21st, 1866 the Lakota Sioux took advantage of this combination of occurrences and staged a devastating retaliatory ambush on soldiers in the Wyoming Territory.  In laymen's terms all this means it will be a super bright full moon, much more than the usual AND it hasn't happened this way for 133 years!  Our ancestors 133 years ago saw this.  It will be 100 years or so years from now until our descendants will see this again."