Published: Thu, February 21, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Trini skywatchers get second supermoon of 2019

Trini skywatchers get second supermoon of 2019

"Some astronomers dismiss "Supermoons" as media hype, but to me, anything that encourages people to gaze up is a great way to re-engage people with the night sky", astronomer Paul Cox said in a statement.

Either way, it's well worth braving the cold and steeping outside for a quick look when you know there's a supermoon hanging about. Not only does it qualify as a "supermoon" - meaning that the moon will look a whopping 15 per cent brighter and seven per cent bigger than a regular full moon due to its proximity to earth - but it is the biggest of the three "supermoons" this year.

Now, local stargazers may feast their eyes on the biggest full moon of the year - the February "snow" moon.

It's when the full moon is closest to the earth, and according to EarthSky, this February full moon reaches its exact full phase closer to the time of perigee than any other full moon this year. Perigree is the point in the orbit of the satellite at which it is nearest to the Earth.

And it will be a particularly splendid sight, since the moon is at perigee just a few hours before it is full, hence the "supermoon" moniker. Although in India, you won't be able to see the Moon at its closest because it is falling during the day, the full moon will be visible in the country.

The moon is seen beside a quadriga on the top of the Cinquantenaire arch in Brussels, Belgium. In contrast, the year's farthest full moon on September 14, 2019, will reside at a distance of 406,248 km.

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Lecturer Jeffrey Fang, 40, told The Straits Times that he was taking a stroll at the jetty at about 7pm when he noticed that the moon was "rounder than usual". "On Tuesday, the angular diameter will be 33.47 arc minutes, very close to the maximum observed angle of 33.5", Talwar reportedly said.

The heavy snowfall known to occur during this time of the year, along with the problems of food scarcity which made hunting hard for people years ago is also one of the reasons for its secondary title, "The Hunger Moon" according to the Almanac.

This month's full moon is also known as a "snow moon".

So what's so special about a super moon? The moon lit up the sky at about 7.30pm, but a bout of cloudy weather later kept it hidden until about 8.30pm, when it reappeared. The full moon moment - when the moon lies exactly 180 degrees opposite the sun and reflects the light to the maximum - will occur at 9.23 p.m. Just make sure you wrap up warm first. Be prepared to go insane in love - after all, it is for a good reason that lunatic and lunacy derive their roots from the Latin word "lunaticus" which means "of the moon".

"Or pretty much every night right now if you wake up really early, you can go out and see Jupiter, Saturn and Venus in the eastern sky right before sunrise".

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