Just a month after the strawberry moon, people in Ireland will be able to see the biggest supermoon of the year tonight.
The biggest and brightest supermoon of the year is set to light up skies across the world later today (13 July), exciting astronomers and amateur stargazers alike.
This is because the moon is arriving at its closest point to the Earth for 2022, at a distance of around 357,264km.
The term ‘supermoon’ was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979. It is inspired by the fact that when a new or full moon is within 90pc of perigee, its closest approach to Earth, it appears larger and brighter than usual.
The moment when the moon is both approaching perigee and full is known as ‘perigee syzygy’. Typically, supermoons appear about 30pc brighter as well as 15pc larger than when the moon is at its furthest point away from us.
According to NASA, the moon will appear full for about three days this week, from early Tuesday morning through to early Friday morning. The best time to view a supermoon is in the late evening after sunset, when the moon is rising from the horizon.
Astronomy Ireland has said that the best time to view the supermoon here will be tonight, with the moon rising at 10.30pm.
It comes just a month after June’s ‘super strawberry moon’. Contrary to what its name might suggest, a strawberry moon has nothing to do with the colour of the moon.
This supermoon is also known as the Buck Moon in the US. According to NASA, this name is inspired by what Algonquin tribes from the north-east region of the US used to call it because the timing coincides with the season when buck deer push out new antlers.
In Europe, the supermoon is also known as the Hay Moon because it takes place in the months of June and July – the traditional season of haymaking. For Hindus, Jains and some Buddhists, it is referred to as the Guru Full Moon or Guru Purnima.
Depending on the region and air quality, supermoons can be accompanied by mild discolourations with reddish or pinkish hues, especially when the moon is rising.
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