The supermoon of August will dazzle the night viewing on Saturday. It is the time when Moon will look largest and the brightest from the surface of the earth
A full moon is exciting to watch. It occurs when sun, earth and moon, all three are lined up with earth in the middle. The moon appears fully luminous from Earth since it is exactly opposite to the sun at that moment.
But supermoon is far more spectacular event than a full moon. It happens when moon comes extremely close to the earth on its orbit. So it looks largest and brightest from the surface of the earth.
Since earth is constantly revolving around the sun and the moon is revolving around the earth, reaching to a point where these three objects are right opposite to each other is extremely beautiful. When Moon makes the closest approach to the earth, it is called a Supermoon and it is actually an instantaneous event.
According to NASA, a full moon at perigee (closest point) is up to 14 percent large in area, almost 7 percent larger in diameter and 30 percent brighter than one at its farthest point, or apogee.
The term supermoon is not astronomical. It rather came from modern astrology. It is linked to astrologer Richard Nolle who used the term more than 30 years ago. He defined it as
“a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to earth in a given orbit. In short, earth, moon, and sun all in line, with moon in its nearest approach to earth.”
This year, we have a total of six supermoons. The supermoons of January, February and March have gone but supermoons of August, September and October are still to come.
The August’s supermoon will dazzle the sky tonight, on Saturday at 2.35 p.m. The perigee, when moon will be closest to the earth, will occur 18 hours after the full moon on Sunday August 30, at 11 a.m.
The moon distance varies every month between 222,000 miles and 252,000 miles due to its elliptical orbit around the earth. This month moon will be 222,631 miles away from the earth.
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The next supermoon will occur on September 28 and it will be the biggest and closest supermoon of the year 2015.