Supermoon: How and where to watch the biggest and brightest 'pink moon' since 2016
Everyone's staying indoors abiding to the stay-at-home orders of governments to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. But, not everyone is necessarily enjoying being confined to their homes and embracing idleness after seemingly exhausting all their options for entertainment, or so they think. In this case you're in luck, because nature is coming through with its own entertaining act this April -- the 'Supermoon'.
The moon will be at its fullest on April 7 or 8 (depending on your timezone), which essentially means next week one can witness the biggest supermoon of the year. So, as long as the weather promises to remain pleasant and the skies clear of pollution we should be able to see this astronomical phenomenon in all its glory.
"Watch for the biggest full moon of the year to shine all night long as it beams in the east after sunset April 7, climbs highest up for the night around midnight, and sets in the west around sunrise April 8," Bruce McClure of EarthSky, a website dedicated to the cosmos and astronomy, said.
Supermoons happen when a full moon approaches its closest point to the Earth and its orbit or perigee. It appears larger than its usual lunar appearance and is a distinct pink in colour, earning it the alternative name, 'Pink Moon.' A super moon looks about 16% brighter than an average full moon. The impressive appearance is because of an optical effect called the 'moon illusion' which generally makes a full moon seem massive when rising behind far-off objects on the horizon.
The term 'supermoon' is colloquial and was coined by Richard Nolle, an American astrologist, in 1979. He also claimed that it could cause natural disasters, but it wasn't backed by solid theory.
In total, there will be four supermoons this year, out of which two occurred in February and March. The last supermoon will occur in May and is also known as the full flower supermoon.
The one on November 14, 2016, was the closest full supermoon since January 26, 1948, and will not be outshone until November 25, 2034 (dates based on Coordinated Universal Time).
According to timeanddate.com, the best time to enjoy a supermoon or any other full moon is just after sunset, when the moon rises or the break of dawn, when the moon is near the horizon or about to set. The supermoon looks bigger and brighter when it's low, rather than when it's high in the sky. "This is called the Moon illusion, and actually makes more of a difference to what it looks like than the real boost you get from it being a bit closer to Earth," the website explains.
A supermoon also affects the tide, and the greatest difference between high or low tide can be spotted then. It is all to do with gravity -- the gravitational forces of the moon and sun coupled pulls the ocean's water in the same direction. These tides are termed as 'spring tides' or 'king tides'.