Skywatchers Gear-up for SuperMoon – Biggest in 68 Years

Published On:November 14, 2016, 12:18 pm

Skywatchers from across the globe gear up for the latest “SuperMoon” as Earth’s satellite will make the    closest approach ever since 1948.

The sky enthusiasts in the United Kingdom have the supreme chance of viewing the superMoon on Monday evening, even though the Moon renders its closest approach at 11.21 GMT and at that time it will be at a distance of 356,509 km away.

To the onlookers, the Moon will appear nearly 7% larger than normal and approximately 15% brighter. However, the naked eye can barely notice the difference.

This superMoon will in future be this close not before 25th November 2034. UK's national meteorological service’s forecast predicts that it will be cloudy when the superMoon is at its closest.

When the Moon outlines its orbit around the Earth, we are able to view several proportions which are lit up by the Sun. There is a one particular time in every orbit wherein the satellite is totally lit up, that’s what a full Moon is.

When the Moon orbits the Earth approximately every 27 days, it travels in an elliptical shape, and at that time its distance from planet Earth is not invariable but differs across a full orbit.

Although amongst this mismatched orbit, there are more intricate variations caused by the Earth’s movements surrounding the Sun. the point of periapsis which is the closest approach and the full Moon are not in sync.

However, there are times when this point of periapsis and the full Moon concur and this is most commonly termed as supermoon. So for the skywatchers the differences between a normal full moon and a supermoon are very minute and subtle.

Usually, a supermoon can be as much as 14% bigger and 30% brighter. Dr Chris North stated that, "These differences are pretty small, and with the Moon rising so high in the sky, as it does in the winter months, it'll be quite hard to notice any difference without comparing photographs."

He further mentioned that, "But regardless of how big and bright it looks, the Moon really is a beautiful object to look at."

Neil de Grasse Tyson who is the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York had earlier suggested that such occurrences are a bit over-hyped. He went on saying, "I don't know who first called it a superMoon."

He sarcastically stated, "I don't know, but if you have a 16-inch pizza, would you call that a super pizza compared with a 15-inch pizza?"

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