SRINAGAR: As the sun sets tonight, nature is preparing to unveil a celestial marvel, a supermoon event.
The supermoon phenomenon occurs when a full moon is near its closest point to Earth, making it appear up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter compared to when it is farthest away.
Tonight, people will witness the first supermoon rising in the southeast from a distance of 357,530 km away. It will come even closer on the night of Wednesday, August 30, at a distance of 357,344 km. This event is known as a blue moon since it is the second full moon in the same month.
According to retired NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak, also known as ‘Mr Eclipse,’ warm summer nights provide an ideal opportunity to observe the full moon rising in the eastern sky just minutes after sunset. August presents this spectacle twice due to the lunar cycle lasting 29.5 days and the moon’s elliptical path around Earth, Sky News reported.
Italian astronomer Gianluca Masi, founder of the Virtual Telescope Project, as per Sky News notes that the last time two full supermoons appeared in the same month was in 2018, and it won’t happen again until 2037, giving rise to the phrase “once in a blue moon.” Masi plans to provide a live webcast of Tuesday evening’s supermoon rising over the Colosseum in Rome.
Explaining the apparent size increase of the supermoon, Masi said that at night, the full moon appears very bright compared to the dark landscape, and when it rises behind monuments and elements of the landscape, it creates an optical illusion, making its disk seem larger than usual.
On Tuesday, as the supermoon rises, people can also catch a glimpse of Mercury and Mars in the sky, visible to the naked eye, according to NASA.
This year’s first supermoon occurred in July, while the fourth and final one will appear in September. The tradition of giving moons different names dates back to ancient times and is related to the behavior of plants, animals, or weather.