The most recent supermoon was witnessed over the weekend on Friday, July 12. People who did not get a chance to see the moon on July 12 have two more chances this year.
The Moon's distance from the Earth varies every month from between about 357,000 kilometers and 406,000 kilometers. The reason for the varied distance is due to the Moon's elliptical orbit around the Earth. When the Moon is nearest to the Earth it is called perigee moon and appears to be 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter when compared to when it is at its farthest point, or apogee.
Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory suggests that supermoons are not unusual and in 2013 there were three supermoons in a row but only one was widely reported. Many people took photographs of the supermoon on July 12 and posted them on various social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and More.
Chester points out those supermoons get high publicity from media, which in turn make people think that it is the biggest supermoon they are watching. On the other hand, he thinks it is good in a way as people may get more interested in astronomy. Some people believe that every supermoon can be a spectacle as factors such as weather, location and time of the night may change the viewing experience of a supermoon.
According to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), it is difficult to observe the 30 percent extra brightness of the supermoon when compared to a regular full moon.
"In practice, it's not always easy to tell the difference between a supermoon and an ordinary full Moon. A 30% difference in brightness can easily be masked by clouds and haze. Also, there are no rulers floating in the sky to measure lunar diameters. Hanging high overhead with no reference points to provide a sense of scale, one full Moon looks about the same size as any other," per NASA.
If people missed the supermoon of July 12, they have another two chances on August 10 and on September 9. However, on August 10 the Moon will be closest to the Earth and will appear as the biggest supermoon for this year.
If you are a sky gazer then pen down August 10 and September 9 in your diary.