1. A complete moon on Tuesday, February 19 – also known as the “snow moon” – might be the brightest of 2019.
2. The moon will appear significantly larger than normal because it might be near its closest distance to Earth in the course of its orbit across the planet.
3. February’s “supermoon” or “perigean” moon might be the second one of three in a row.
You’re now not hallucinating: Yes, the moon appears brighter than normal and yes, it seems bigger, too.
But the nighttime of Tuesday, February 19 will bring the real show – what astronomers at NASA name a “perigean” or “supermoon.” The event will coincide with a complete moon that is often called a “snow moon” or “hunger moon.”
It’s now not an unusual event inside the context of our human lifestyles on Earth. In reality, 12 to fourteen complete moons arise every 12 months, and approximately one-fourth of these are larger and brighter than normal – consequently the time period supermoon.
But that doesn’t make this full moon any much less exquisite to have a look at on a crisp iciness evening, in particular on the eve of humanity’s 50th anniversary of landing men at the moon, as NASA scientist Mitzi Adams said in a current weblog publish.
“As NASA and its business and worldwide partners plan to go back the moon over the subsequent decade with an extended-time period continued presence, the list of moonwalkers will absolutely consist of ladies, as nicely,” Adams said.
Why the ‘terrific snow moon’ could be so large and so bright
February’s full moon is once in a while mentioned by its Native American or conventional call, which is the “snow moon.” That’s because it’s winter inside the northern hemisphere, and snow frequently blankets the floor in the course of this time.
This February, the snow moon also happens to be a supermoon.
A supermoon (a term that a few astronomers do not take care of) takes place due to the fact the moon’s distance from Earth varies at some stage in its orbit around our planet. That orbit isn’t always perfectly circular – it has a slightly elliptical or oval form – which ends up in the version.
On average, the moon is ready 238,856 miles far away from Earth. But it can creep as near as kind of 221,500 miles and as far as 252,seven-hundred miles. That’s a minimum-maximum difference of approximately 31,200 miles. (These distances are calculated based totally on laser-ranging measurements that use reflectors left at the moon’s floor with the aid of Apollo astronauts.)
Supermoons occur when we get a complete moon near or at the factor whilst the moon’s orbit is closest to Earth, additionally known as the perigee of its orbit. For this cause, supermoons also are called perigee or perigean moons, though the full technical term is “perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun gadget.”
Compared to a complete moon at apogee – its most remote point in orbit around Earth, whilst “micro moons” arise – a supermoon looks about 14% bigger and 30% brighter.
Gianluca Masi, an astronomer with The Virtual Telescope Project, told Business Insider that in comparison to an average complete moon, this month’s supermoon “will seem about 7% larger and a chunk brighter.”
There’s no universally agreed-upon definition of a supermoon. However, one common description is any full moon that happens inside approximately 90% of perigee, or within roughly 223,000 miles of Earth.
February’s “extraordinary snow moon” will occur just six hours after a perigee distance of 221,681 miles, consistent with NASA. This will now not most effective make it the second of 3 supermoons in a row, but also the biggest and brightest full moon of the 12 months. (The closer the moon is to Earth, the bigger it will seem and the extra sunlight it could replicate.)
That’s because this distance is ready 362 miles closer than the supermoon that we noticed on January 21, in keeping with Adams. It may also be approximately 1,627 miles closer than the next supermoon, which happens on March 19.
The ultimate time Earth saw three supermoons for three full moons in a row was in early 2018.