A Super Moon occurs when the Full Moon comes closest to Earth in its orbit, making the Moon appear slightly brighter and closer than usual, although the difference is often barely noticeable to the naked eye. . The first super moon of 2019 appears on January 20 and 21; The next two supermoons occurred on February 19 and March 21.
The term “Supermoon” has been around for about 40 years, but it didn’t get much attention until late 2016, when three supermoons occurred in a row. Supermoon November 2016 – also the closest appearance of the Moon on Earth in the last 69 years, although the closest time is around the 30s of the 21st century.
A supermoon appears over the US Capitol on December 3, 2017. Source: BNC
HOW DOES THE SUPER MOON WORK?
The Moon’s orbit around the Earth is not an absolute circle. The average distance from the Moon to Earth is about 382,900 km, but perigee and apogee – the closest and furthest points from Earth – change each lunar month.
“The reason the Moon’s orbit is not an absolute circle is that there is a very strong tidal force, or gravity itself, acting on the Moon.” – Noah Petro, NASA scientist who represents the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission.
He adds that different gravities of the Earth, the Sun or the planets all have an effect on the Moon’s orbit. “It is this gravitational force of different origins that ‘pulls’ and ‘pushes’ the Moon, giving us the opportunity to observe the Moon more closely.” he added.
For a super full moon to appear, two key conditions are necessary. The first is that the Moon must approach the closest position to Earth, or perigee, in its orbit. Second, the Moon must be in full phase. This happens every 29.5 days, when the Sun illuminates the entire Moon. A supermoon only occurs a few times a year at most, because as the Earth orbits the Sun, the Moon’s orbit changes direction. This is why you don’t see a Super Moon every month.
Compare the size of the Full Moon at perigee and apogee. Source: Sky and Telescope
A supermoon will be about 30% larger and about 14% brighter than a regular full moon, but the difference is barely noticeable to the naked eye. “It won’t be noticeable enough unless you’re a very careful observer of the moon,” – Alan MacRobert, editor of Sky & Telescope Magazine, said.
You’ll likely see the supermoon appear particularly large, however, that’s when it’s very close to the horizon. But it has nothing to do with astronomy, it all depends on how the human brain works. This effect is known as the “moon illusion” and can arise from at least a few reasons. Scientists think the brain may be comparing the Moon to nearby buildings or objects; or maybe our brain automatically assumes that objects on the horizon are larger than in the sky.
The term “Supermoon” comes not from astronomy but from astrology – a pseudo-scientific system that studies the movements of celestial bodies to make assumptions/predictions about personalities and events in human life. The term was first mentioned in a 1979 Dell Horoscope magazine article, edited by Richard Nolle. Nolle defines a Super Moon as “a new or full moon occurs when the Moon is closest to Earth in its orbit (or less than 90% of its distance from Earth”). but he did not explain where he got the 90% figure.
The November 2016 supermoon was the largest full moon seen in 69 years. Source: Universe Today
It’s only in recent years that the term has gained a lot of attention. Try searching Google Trends since 2004, you can see that the keyword “Supermoon” was not used much until 2011. And it wasn’t until November 2016 that the Supermoon got a lot of attention , when humans witnessed the largest Super Moon in 69 years. Since then, the term has appeared more commonly in certain regions of the world – mainly Southeast Asia and North America, while Europe or India are of lesser interest.
Astronomer Dean Regas of the Cincinatti Observatory thinks recent astronomical terms such as “Supermoon” or “dark moon” (second new moon of the month) may make the public aware of the factual error here. -above. But Regas, who co-hosts PBS’s “Star Gazers,” insists “Supermoon” is a pretty good term for the astronomy community.
“It’s a great way to get the community excited,” he said of the term Super Moon. And it’s also something that connects, that really makes people want to go out and see.”
Remarkable SUPER MOON
On January 20 and 21, 2019, a Super Moon and a lunar eclipse occurred simultaneously. A lunar eclipse is a phenomenon that occurs when the Earth is between the Sun and the Moon. At that time, the Moon was reddish-brown because the only light it received was reflected from the Earth.
The supermoon appeared over the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in November 2016. Source: SpaceWatch.Global
At the end of 2016, we saw 3 consecutive Super Moons in October, November and December, but November (the 14th) was the period that caught the most attention because it was the Super Moon that appeared closest to the earth in recent decades. The moon at perigee was then about 356,508 km from Earth, making it the closest full moon to Earth in 69 years – since the supermoon of January 26, 1948.
A full moon occurred in January 1912 even closer to Earth than the November 2016 supermoon at about 100 km. Observers can expect to see something particularly interesting: the Moon will be closer to Earth than it was in 1912 and in 2016 in 2034.
Read more: Super moon – rumors and facts