Super Moon lights up Ramadan sky in UAE

Now, get ready for Extra Super Moon

The full moon last night appeared to be unusually big and was captured on camera by hundreds of 'moon watchers' across the world, including Emirates 24|7 readers. Why? It was a ‘super moon’.
 


One day before a "supermoon," a commercial airliner crosses the waxing gibbous moon on its final approach to Los Angeles Airport as viewed from Whittier, Calif., Friday, July 11, 2014. (AP)



A perigee moon also known as a supermoon rises above a Chinese pavilion in Beijing, China, Saturday, July 12, 2014.  The phenomenon, which scientists call a "perigee moon," occurs when the moon is near the horizon and appears larger and brighter than other full moons. (AP)

That's the nickname for full moons that happen when our celestial neighbor is relatively close to Earth.

If you missed it, there is more to come from this celestial body. Two other full moons this summer, on Aug 10 and Sept 9, are also supermoons.

Pakistani families visit a park as a perigee moon, also known as a supermoon, rises in Lahore, Pakistan, Saturday, July 12, 2014. The phenomenon, which scientists call a "perigee moon," occurs when the moon is near the horizon and appears larger and brighter than other full moons. (AP)

A perigee moon, also known as a supermoon, rises over a crescent of a minaret of grand Faisal mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan, Saturday, July 12, 2014. The phenomenon, which scientists call a "perigee moon," occurs when the moon is near the horizon and appears larger and brighter than other full moons. (AP)

A supermoon rises behind fans during a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium, Saturday, July 12, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP)

Aircraft passes in front of a Supermoon rising over the Rideau Canal in Ottawa July 12, 2014. Occurring when a full moon or new moon coincides with the closest approach the moon makes to the Earth, the Supermoon results in a larger-than-usual appearance of the lunar disk. (REUTERS)

That distance varies because the moon follows an elliptical orbit. When it's close and full, it appears bigger and brighter than normal, although in fact the difference can be hard to detect.

Perigee moon

According to Nasa, the "supermoon" in 2013 was 14% bigger and 30% brighter than other full Moons of 2013. The scientific term for the phenomenon is "perigee moon."



A perigee moon, also known as a supermoon, rises over the Queens borough of New York, Saturday, July 12, 2014. The phenomenon, which scientists call a "perigee moon," occurs when the moon is near the horizon and appears larger and brighter than other full moons. (AP)

But, according to Nasa, on August 10, the moon arguably, will be an extra-super Moon.


A perigee moon also known as a supermoon rises behind figurines on a Chinese pavilion in Beijing, China, Saturday, July 12, 2014.  The phenomenon, which scientists call a "perigee moon," occurs when the moon is near the horizon and appears larger and brighter than other full moons. (AP)

Full Moons vary in size because of the oval shape of the Moon's orbit.

The Moon follows an elliptical path around Earth with one side ("perigee") about 50,000 km closer than the other ("apogee").  Full Moons that occur on the perigee side of the Moon's orbit seem extra big and bright. This coincidence happens three times in 2014. 

 

Traffic streaks by the supermoon as it rises behind the Memorial Bridge in Washington, Saturday, July 12, 2014. The full moon Saturday may seem huge, but it's just an illusion caused by its position in the sky. (AP)

 

A Supermoon is seen over the Rideau Canal in Ottawa July 12, 2014. Occurring when a full moon or new moon coincides with the closest approach the moon makes to the Earth, the Supermoon results in a larger-than-usual appearance of the lunar disk. (REUTERS)

On July 12 and Sept 9 the Moon becomes full on the same day as perigee. But, on August 10, the moon becomes full during the same hour as perigee — arguably making it an extra-super Moon.

According to Nasa, in practice, it's not always easy to tell the difference between a supermoon and an ordinary full Moon.
A 30 per cent difference in brightness can easily be masked by clouds and haze. 

Also, there are no rulers floating in the sky to measure lunar diameters. Hanging high overhead with no reference points to provide a sense of scale, one full Moon looks about the same size as any other.

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