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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Three cosmic delights set for Irish skies tonight

Anita McSorley

Published 10/08/2014 | 16:47

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A man takes a photo of the Supermoon phenomenon from a bridge over 42nd St. in the Manhattan borough of New York July 11, 2014. Occurring when a full moon or new moon coincides with the closest approach the moon makes to the Earth, the Supermoon results in a larger-than-usual appearance of the lunar disk.         REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY CITYSCAPE)
A man takes a photo of the Supermoon phenomenon
A full moon, known as "Supermoon", rises over the Angel de la Independencia monument, in Mexico City July 13, 2014. Occurring when a full moon or new moon coincides with the closest approach the moon makes to the Earth, the Supermoon results in a larger-than-usual appearance of the lunar disk. REUTERS/Henry Romero (MEXICO - Tags: ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY)
A full moon, known as "Supermoon", rises over the Angel de la Independencia monument, in Mexico City
A man is reflected in a car window as he looks at the Supermoon phenomenon from a bridge over 42nd St. in the Manhattan borough of New York July 11, 2014. Occurring when a full moon or new moon coincides with the closest approach the moon makes to the Earth, the Supermoon results in a larger-than-usual appearance of the lunar disk.        REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY CITYSCAPE)
A man is reflected in a car window as he looks at the Supermoon phenomenon

The sky above Ireland will be ablaze with activity tonight with three separate cosmic phenomena set to take place.

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Within the space of a few hours a dramatic supermoon will accompany a stunning meteor shower as the International Space Station wizzes by.

Experts are urging the Irish public to go out and view the three cosmic delights.

Supermoon is an unofficial term for a full moon that reaches the point in it's orbit when it is closest to Earth.

A spokesperson for Astronomy Ireland said that tonight's moon will be "the most spectacular moon of the year."

Sky-gazers can view the moon at it's brightest when it rises around 9pm and it will be closest to Ireland at exactly 1.38am.

"It will be14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than normal. It will look bigger and brighter when it is rising and as the sun sets, so hopefully around 9pm.

"We did exact calculations for the distance of Ireland from the moon for every minute of 2014 using highly accurate figures from NASA and this full moon will be closest to Ireland at exactly 1.38am," Astronomy Ireland told Independent.ie.

Accompanying the moon will be a sequence of glittering shooting stars.

Shooting stars, or meteors as they are also know, occur when planet Earth passes through the debris trail from a comet, which is the dust and dirt that fly off as it blasts through space.

There will be shooting stars galore tonight as the meteor shower prepares to peak early next week.

"There will be activity tonight and it will get stronger every day up until its peak.

"They will be great tonight, better tomorrow and best on Tuesday."

To top off an exciting night of cosmic action, the brightest man-made object ever launched in space is set to shoot by.

The International Space Station will make two overhead passes within the space of two hours tonight.

The Irish public will have a number of opportunities to spot it as it will be making a regular appearance in Irish skies from tonight until August 21st.

Astronomy Ireland will be hosting a public lecture on 'Comets and Culture' in Trinity College Dublin tomorrow at 8pm.

Irish Independent

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