The July ‘Buck Supermoon’ will be visible to Irish skywatchers around the country tonight as the moon will appear larger and 30 per cent brighter than normal.
It marks the first in a series of four supermoons to grace the night sky this year, with two more to come in August and a fourth in September.
According to Space.com, a supermoon is “the result of the moon being closer to Earth at the time of a full moon” due to the fact that the moon’s orbit does not follow a perfect circle around the Earth due to its gravitational pull.
The point at which the moon is closest to the Earth is called a perigee, and this can cause the moon to appear up to 14 per cent larger in size when in the full moon phase of its 29.5 day lunar cycle.
Tonight’s supermoon event will see the moon sit just 361,934 kilometres from Earth in comparison to its average distance of 382,900 kilometres.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac says that the July Buck Supermoon gets its name from the process in which the antlers of a male deer (buck) are in peak growth mode in July during their annual cycle of shedding and regrowth.
The Buck Supermoon was first visible over Ireland on Sunday and Monday nights, but will be at its peak visibility tonight from around 11.20pm Irish time.
Those hoping to catch a glimpse of tonight’s unique event will undoubtedly be treated to a spectacular sight, provided skies remain largely cloudless.
Buzz.ie reports that Astronomy Ireland is urging people around the country to get out to witness this rare event and to submit their best supermoon shots to its monthly magazine for featuring in next month’s issue.
“We are urging everyone to get creative and send us your photographs of the supermoon rising at 11:20pm Tuesday” said David Moore, Founder and Editor of Astronomy Ireland Magazine.
Photos of the supermoon rising can be emailed to Astronomy Ireland magazine at firstname.lastname@example.org and the best will be published in its next issue.
Moonwatchers who happen to miss the supermoon tonight need not worry, as the third supermoon of the year, the Blue Moon, will appear on August 30th which will be the closest distance the moon is to the Earth (357,344 kilometres) during supermoon season.
Source : Irish Mirror