Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

Super Snow Moon shines over Ireland tonight

A super blood moon lit up the sky last month. Credit PA Images A super blood moon lit up the sky last month. Credit PA Images
Cary Marshall | 23 February, 2019, 03:40

"The moon appeared larger and brighter than the ordinary full moon", said 10-year-old Wenzel, a fifth grader. However, the Moon won't be as close (360,772 km away) to the Earth as it is tonight.

According to NASA, the moon will look up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than the moon appears when it's furthest from Earth.

This supermoon occurs during a full moon as it is expected to be the closest in its orbit to Earth.

Much of New Zealand was bathed in moonlight last night - and the reason was something called perigee.

The moon looks particularly large because it's at its closet point to Earth.

The supermoon coincided with the annual Lantern Festival, which marks the end of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebrations - or Chap Goh Meh.

February's Super Snow Moon is the second of three lunar spectacles that Irish stargazers have been treated to this year.

More news: How Chicago’s surveillance camera network helped solve the Jussie Smollett case

As the first full moon of February, this supermoon is known as a snow moon, based on the typical cold, snowy weather in North America.

The term gives preference to the geometric alignment of Sun-Earth-Moon and allows the occurrence of perigee into a wider time period than the actual instant of perigee (up to about two weeks, which is nearly half of the Moon's orbit).

Usually, the Super Moon phenomenon would hardly be visible in these winter months. The Moon, which is also called the February Snow Moon, will be at its brightest later today.

It'll appear especially large just as it rises above the horizon thanks to "moon illusion" where the brain thinks the moon is bigger than it really is given its location.

The brightness of the moon also increases when there's a supermoon. If you don't want to miss out on the lunar spectacular, you can visit Virtual Telescope, based in Rome, for a real-time glimpse at the moon, starting at 11:30 p.m. ET, or check out Slooh starting at 7 p.m. ET. On these evenings, visitors can catch telescopic views of the moon, stars and more through Chamberlin's historic, 28-foot long, 20-inch-aperture Alvan Clark-Saegmuller refracting telescope.

Basically, it's the closest it will be while also being a full moon.

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