Supermoon to brighten up skies for stargazers
By: Fedora Atjeh | 12/03/2017 06:26:00 PM
|Supermoon to brighten up skies for stargazers|
The Moon circuits the Earth in an elliptical or oval orbit - a supermoon occurs when the perigee Moon is also a full Moon. Robert Massey, of the Royal Astronomical Society, said it will appear brightest at midnight - when at its highest point above the horizon.
The Met Office's UK forecast suggests there will be clear spells this afternoon, so the supermoon may be visible. Last year the Moon made its closest approach to Earth since 1948 - it won't be that close again until 25 November 2034.
Nasa has called this weekend's sighting the first in a "supermoon trilogy" over the next two months, with others to come on 1 January and 31 January. December's full Moon is traditionally known as the cold Moon.
This full Moon on Sunday afternoon - when it sits opposite the sun in the sky - will be 222,761 miles from Earth, closer than its average 238,900 miles.
Mr Massey said: "It's a nice enough phenomenon. "You won't necessarily think that it's huge. It will appear a bit bigger than usual, but don't expect it to look five times bigger." This Moon's elliptical orbit means that its distance from Earth is not constant but varies across a full orbit. But within this uneven orbit there are further variations caused by the Earth's movements around the Sun.
These mean that the perigee - the closest approach - and full moon are not always in sync.
But occasions when the perigee and full moon coincide have become known as supermoons.
Via : BBC