Supermoon Sunday: world takes to Twitter to capture the phenomenon
Sky watchers saw the moon appear substantially larger than usual as it reaches its closest point to the Earth
Sky watchers had their eyes peeled and cameras ready during Supermoon Sunday, when the sun aligned with the moon to light up the sky.
Dubbed as one of the biggest celestial events of the year, UK sky watchers awoke before dawn to see the moon appear substantially larger than usual as it reached its closest point to the Earth.
At 4.00am on Sunday it became a perigee full moon, the official term used by astronomers. The term 'supermoon' was instead first coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979. According to NASA, a full moon at perigee appears up to 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter than one at its furthest point away from the planet.
Keen sky watchers captured pictures of moon and posted them on Twitter under the hashtag #supermoon.
At its highest point in the sky, the moon is visible as a ‘normal’ shape and size. However when the moon travels lower it appears bigger, and at its lowest we see a supermoon. There are usually between four and six of these throughout the year, but Sunday morning's was the biggest of the calendar as it is the closest encounter with earth.
Dr Robert Massey, of the Royal Astronomical Society said on Saturday: “The eye is so good at compensating for changes in brightness that it may only appear a little brighter. What you may notice is that the Moon will be a little bit bigger.” But he said it could still be worth glancing up at the skies tonight, adding: “The Moon is always beautiful and a full moon is always dramatic.”
The moon was approximately less than 226,000 miles away from our planet as it continued the elliptical path, and slightly higher than average tides were expected as a result.
Those who missed the elliptical illusion will have to wait until August 2014 for the phenomenon to occur again.
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