Thursday 30 March 2017

Once in a supermoon... and the next one won't be for 18 years

The supermoon is seen last night in Athens. Photo: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters
The supermoon is seen last night in Athens. Photo: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters
The supermoon is seen last night in Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron
The supermoon is seen last night in Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. Photo: Dmitri Lovetsky/AP Photo
The supermoon is seen last night in Frankfurt, Germany. Photo: Boris Roessler/AFP/Getty Images
The supermoon is seen last night in Philadelphia, United States. Photo: Joseph Kaczmarek/AP Photo
The supermoon is seen last night in Madrid, Spain. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images
The supermoon is seen last night in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Mohammed Albuhaisi/AFP/Getty Images
The supermoon is seen last night in Prague, Czech Republic. Photo: David W Cerny/Reuters
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Skygazers around the country gathered to catch a glimpse of the spectacular supermoon hanging low in the night's sky.

Last night's supermoon was the largest recorded since 1948, appearing 14pc bigger and 30pc brighter than usual.

A supermoon - or 'perigee-syzygy' - of this size will not appear in the sky again until November 25, 2034.

The changing size of the moon is a result of its orbit.

As the moon moves around the Earth every 27 days or so, it travels in an elliptical or oval shape.

This means its distance from Earth is not constant but varies across a full lunar orbit.

The reason why the orbit of the moon is not a perfect circle is due to tidal or gravitational forces that are pulling on the moon.

At one stage last night, the moon was just 356,508km from the Earth's surface.

Ordinarily the moon orbits 384,400km from Earth.

The moon was a shade of orange when it began to rise.

It returned to its normal white colour as it moved further away from the Earth's crust.

The close proximity of last night's supermoon may have had a direct influence on our tidal patterns.

There are many other classifications of moons including harvest, black, blue, blood and strawberry moons.

Black moons refers to the second new moon in a calendar month.

The next black moon is expected in 2019.

Irish Independent

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