Tuesday night witnessed the breathtaking sight of the first of two supermoons expected this month, as the full moon appeared bigger and brighter than usual. The natural satellite positioned itself closer to Earth than the typical distance, at just 222,159 miles away, creating a stunning display for skywatchers worldwide.
The term “supermoon” was coined in 1979 and refers to a new or full moon that occurs when the moon is within 90% of perigee, its closest approach to Earth. According to NASA, this proximity to our planet makes the moon appear larger and more luminous than during a regular full moon.
In North America, the full moon in August is traditionally known as the “sturgeon moon.” The Algonquin tribes in the northeastern United States gave it this name in reference to the abundance of large fish caught during this time of year in the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water.
Sky enthusiasts were eagerly anticipating the event, and photographers from around the world captured stunning images of the supermoon’s brilliance. Italian astronomer Gianluca Masi, founder of the Virtual Telescope Project, had planned to webcast the moonrise over the Coliseum in Rome. Unfortunately, the event had to be canceled due to cloudy weather.
While this year’s first supermoon appeared in July, the sky will treat us to another supermoon on August 30, where the moon will come even closer to Earth at just 222,043 miles away. It’s a rare occurrence to witness two full supermoons in the same month, with the last happening in 2018 and the next not expected until 2037.
Nature’s celestial display continues to enchant us, reminding us of the wonders of our universe. Skywatchers eagerly await the next supermoon in September, marking the final installment of this year’s supermoon series. Until then, we can relish the memories of this dazzling lunar spectacle.
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