Supermoon: NASA scientist explains why moon appears ‘brighter’
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The full Moon in June is called the Strawberry Supermoon because it comes at the same time as the fruit-harvesting season in North America. Supermoons are quite common and can be seen three or four times per year.
Why does a Supermoon happen?
A Supermoon occurs when the Moon is at its closest point along its orbit to the Earth at the same time as a full Moon.
Those looking into the sky will see the Moon looking up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter compared to when it is furthest away.
The distance between the Moon and the Earth varies due to the fact that the Earth is not at the centre of the Moon’s orbit and the Moon isn’t a circle.
The moment the Moon is at its closest point to the Earth is known as a lunar perigee
It has a gravitational effect on Earth and can cause higher tides than usual.
When can I see the Strawberry Supermoon today?
The Strawberry Supermoon will be at its biggest in the UK today at 12.51pm British Standard Time.
But luckily it will be visible in the sky around the day, so anyone who missed the peak still has a chance to see it in the afternoon or evening.
Good weather and lack of clouds will make it more likely to catch a glimpse of the Strawberry Supermoon in the sky.
The Moon will look most dramatic at moonrise – just after sunset – and during moonset which is just before sunrise.
The Sun will set at 9.19pm this evening, so anytime just after that should be a good time to catch a glimpse of the Strawberry Supermoon.
It is a good time to use a pair of binoculars or a small telescope and see the Moon’s surface close up.
But it is perfectly possible to enjoy the Supermoon using just eyesight too.
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It may seem odd that the Supermoon peaks during the middle of the day but there is a logical explanation for it.
Around midday is when the Sun and Moon are at exact opposite sides of Earth, a moment which can occur at day or night.
When this happens, it is known as a ‘syzygy’ of the Sun-Earth-Moon system.
The Moon often appears much bigger when it is near the horizon, so it should offer some drastic views for stargazers.
When is the next Supermoon?
The next Supermoon will be on July 13, so anyone who misses out on today’s does not need to wait long to see it again.
There are also Supermoon sightings expected on August 1 and August 31.
So astrology fans can keep the telescopes at the ready and enjoy the spectacular lunar views over the next few months.
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