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
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
An iceberg in Ilulissat, Greenland; researchers have been studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and their long-term ramifications for the rest of the world (Getty)
news
Environment
environment
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Jackman bears his claws and loses the plot in X-Men movie 'The Wolverine'
film
Arts and Entertainment
'Knowledge is power': Angelina Jolie has written about her preventive surgery
film
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing