Supermoon 2014: Perigee moon might make Perseid Meteor shower harder to see as astronomers await memorable event

The supermoon will appear in our skies 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than usual

Scientists have warned that the arrival of the this Sunday's“supermoon” might make the annual Perseid meteor shower - the "fireball champion" of meteor showers - harder to see.

This weekend's supermoon – technical name Perigee moon – will appear in skies above Britain around 6pm on Sunday night, bigger and brighter than it has been for the last 20 years, as the moon comes within 221,765 miles of earth.

It will also coincide with the Perseid meteor shower, which began on Saturday and is expected to finish on Wednesday.

With the two events happening simultaneously, scientists are worried that the appearance of a moon, 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than usual, could affect how well stargazer’s will be able to see this year’s meteor shower.

According to Dr Bill Cooke from Nasa's meteoroid environment office, the appearance of the supermoon may mean that some of the fainter comets might be missed.

He said:  "Lunar glare wipes out the black, velvety backdrop required to see faint meteors, and sharply reduces counts.”

The Perseid meteor shower happens every August and is caused as a result of the massive Swift-Tuttle comet losing parts of its celestial body during as it enters into the inner solar system.

A study in 2008, gave the Perseids the title of “fireball champion”, saying that during a Perseid meteor shower “you will see more fireballs from Swift-Tuttle than any other parent comet.”

Nevertheless, the shower is usually best seen when conditions are clear and in areas where there is very little light pollution – a situation that will be near impossible with the extra bright moon.

Tony Markham, director of the Society for Popular Astronomy, agrees that the appearance of the supermoon may have an impact on how many shooting stars are seen on Sunday night, but remains optimistic that the Perseid meteor shower will still be a memorable event.

He said: “The Perseids are rich in bright meteors and so many Perseids will still be seen despite the moonlit sky background."

He recommended that meteor spotters minimise the effect of the moonlight by observing the sky with their back to the moon, or keep the moon hidden behind trees or a nearby building.

This Sunday’s supermoon will will be the second and largest  in a trio of supermoons to appear in our skies this summer.

The first supermoon of the year occurred on 12 July and there is another one expected on the 9 September.

For more information on supermoons read this: Supermoon 2014: All you need to know about this Sunday's supermoon

Additional Reporting AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea