Cyprus Mail

Super moon next week promises sky spectacle

Next Monday the moon will be closer to earth than at any time since January 1948.

“On November 14 the Cyprus public can enjoy a bright full moon which is 30 per cent brighter and 14 per cent larger than an average full moon,” Chrysanthos Fakas, President of the Astronomical Society of Cyprus said.

“The public now calls it ‘super moon’, a terminology which is not scientific,” he added, “but Nasa says it will adopt it since the world wants to call it that.”

A good time to observe the phenomenon will be when the moon is low on the horizon. It can look much bigger than when it is high up in the sky, an optical illusion as it is comparable with buildings and other landmarks that surround it.

The apparent variation in the moon’s size is due to the fact that it has an elliptical, not circular orbit around the earth, unlike most other bodies roaming the sky.

At its closest, it is 48,280 kilometres closer to earth than when it is furthest away.

Super moons are actually not that rare, but 2016 is unique as it actually has three. One was on October 16, and apart from the one on Monday people will be able to watch one on December 14, however, the one next week is by far the biggest.

“The full moon of November 14 is not only the closest full moon of 2016, but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century,” Nasa said. “The full moon won’t come this close to earth again until 25 November 2034.”

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