Did you see the “Super Worm Moon?” By some definitions the first of four supermoons in 2021, the “Super Worm Moon” sparkled in the night sky on Sunday, delighting sky-watchers and photographers around the world.
The best photos of the “Super Worm Moon” were taken at the time of moonrise on Sunday, March 28, 2021, when—mere minutes after the sun set in the west—our satellite in space peeked above the eastern horizon.
When the full Moon rises in clear skies it always appears in deep and glorious orange hues. That’s because its light comes your eyes—and into cameras—through the thickest part of Earth’s atmosphere.
Since light has to travel through more particles, shorter wavelength bluer light strike more particles and are scattered while longer wavelength reddish light hit fewer particles, and so dominate the light that gets through.
Full Moons tend to appear big to humans because of the “moon illusion” phenomenon. As it appears on the horizon the human brain compares the Moon’s size with other things on the horizon, such as trees and buildings. This context makes it appear to be huge, but as it rises into the night sky it appears to get smaller.
Although the “moon illusion” is always a factor, the “Worm Moon” was slightly bigger than most full Moons. Was the “Worm Moon” a supermoon? Well … perhaps.
What is a supermoon? It’s a full Moon that coincides (or thereabouts) with the Moon’s perigee—the closest point in the Moon’s monthly orbit of Earth. It’s a result of the Moon’s orbit being slightly elliptical, which make the full Moon sometimes looks slightly larger.
There is no official definition of what a supermoon technically is, and is not, but astronomer Fred Espenak defines a supermoon as a full Moon at perigee occurring “within 90% of its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.” Since it was 362,170 km from Earth, that makes the “Worm Moon” a supermoon. However, other definitions preclude it from being called a supermoon.
Either way, there are three more superman’s coming up—April 27’s “Super Pink Moon”, May 26’s “Super Flower Moon” (the closest and largest full Moon of 2021) and June 24’s “Super Strawberry Moon.”
May’s full Moon will also be a “Super Flower Blood Moon Eclipse” since it will also be a rare total lunar eclipse for those in western parts of North America. During the event a supermoon will move into Earth’s dark central umbral shadow to cause a total lunar eclipse for 15 minutes, briefly turning the lunar surface a reddish-copper color (but not bright red, as the term “Blood Moon” suggests!).
The biggest supermoon of the century will occur on December 6, 2052 when an “Ultimate Super Cold Moon” will be 356,429 kilometres from Earth. However, the next really big supermoon will occur on November 25, 2034 as a “Super Frosty Moon.”
The next full Moon—the “Super Pink Moon”—will occur on Monday, April 27, 2021.
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.
This article is auto-generated by Algorithm Source: www.forbes.com