Saturday 7 December 2019

August best chance for a second sight of supermoon

Michael Staines

STARGAZERS who missed last weekend's 'supermoon' will be given a second chance next month as Irish skies are set to be lit up by an even bigger, brighter spectacle.

Many Irish astronomy buffs were left disappointed on Saturday as the first of three expected supermoon events was blocked out by cloudy skies in many areas.

During a supermoon, the Moon appears 14pc larger in the sky and can reflect 30pc more light.

Lorraine Hanlon, Associate Professor of Astronomy at UCD, said that although the full moons of July, August and September this year can all be technically counted as supermoons, next month's moon is the main event.

"The moon orbits the earth every 28 days on a slightly rugby-ball shaped path," said Professor Hanlon. The point on this path when the Moon is nearest the Earth is called 'perigee' and if that coincides with a full moon, this is called 'perigee full moon' or a supermoon."

She said the very closest supermoon is called a 'proxigee'. It happens once every 13 months and 18 days, with the next on August 10.

Astronomy Ireland have done their calculations specifically for Dublin and on the night of August 10, the Moon will be 354,157km away.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News