Supermoon gets 2018 off to big, bright start

Supermoon gets 2018 off to big, bright start

Supermoon gets 2018 off to big, bright start

It appears a bit brighter than a standard full moon, although weather conditions play a bigger role in its visibility. But that variation is not readily apparent to observers who are viewing the moon directly. Since the Moon's orbit is oval, one side is about 50,000km further from Earth than the other. But that translates to only a 0.1 or 0.2 magnitude difference in brightness.

Full moons on January 1 and 31 will be followed by full moons on March 1 and March 31.

What if I miss this Supermoon, how long will I have to wait for the next one?

This happens on a monthly basis, but occasionally the point of perigee aligns with a new or full moon and results in a "perigean spring tide". You can watch that webcast live here. Check out The Virtual Telescope Project or Slooh.com, which livestreams supermoons.

Bigger ... brighter ... or just hyperbole? The series is unusual, given that there generally are only four to six supermoons per year.

What is so "Super" about the moon tonight?

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New and full moons realign on or near the same dates once every 19 years. When I queried her on what she had expected to see, she replied, "I thought it was going to be something like those three-way light bulbs".

With the moon being as close to Earth as it is, there is a significant impact on the tides. "It does look bigger than normal!" 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). There will also be a total lunar eclipse that day as well, although for us in OH, we should not see the total part of that eclipse before the moon sets.

The second perigee of the moon will be at 5:54 p.m. on January 30, according to PAGASA. The last supermoon was the full moon of December 3, 2017.

"The best thing about this, with lunar eclipses it doesn't matter where you are because the moon is so bright and visible", Bonadurer said. It's called a supermoon - but how super is it?

Maybe when it comes to our natural satellite, size doesn't really matter after all.

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