PECTACULAR images show the final Supermoon of 2020 lighting up the sky across the world.
The May full Moon – known as the “Flower Moon” after the spring blooms – is bigger and brighter than normal and is the last Supermoon until April next year.
Incredible images show the Moon rising across the US, UK, Germany and Turkey.
The celestial event started this evening and lasted until the early hours of Thursday, although the Moon will still look big tonight.
NASA explained on its website: “The next full Moon will be on Thursday morning, May 7, 2020, appearing opposite the Sun (in Earth-based longitude) at 6:45am EDT.”
This equates to 10:45pm GMT for watchers in the UK.
The space agency added: “The Moon will appear full for about three days around this time, from Tuesday evening through Friday morning.”
This month’s full Moon is called the Flower Moon because it signifies spring.
Nasa explains: “Going by the seasons, as the second full Moon of spring, the Native American tribes of the northeastern United States called this the Flower Moon, as flowers are abundant this time of year in most of these areas.”
Full Moons occur when when the Moon is on the opposite side of Earth to the Sun.
This results in the lunar surface being fully illuminated.
A Supermoon happens when a full Moon reaches the perigee, which is the point in the orbit of the Moon when it’s closest to the Earth.
The opposite of the perigee is the apogee and when the Moon reaches this point it will look much smaller than usual.
Greg Brown, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory, said: “The Moon’s orbit around the Earth is not entirely circular, instead a slightly flattened circle or ellipse.
“As such, it is sometimes closer to and sometimes further away from the Earth.
“While definitions vary, a Supermoon typically occurs when a full Moon coincides with the Moon being within the closest 10 per cent of its orbit.”
Dr Brown also said this event would be the third and final Supermoon of this year.
He said: “Because of how the dynamics of orbits work, these usually occur in runs of two or three with longer gaps of several months between each set of Supermoons.”
The next Supermoon will be visible in April 2021.
A Supermoon appears when a full Moon aligns with the point closest to the Earth during its elliptical orbit.
During this time it appears 14% bigger and 30% brighter than usual.
It wasn’t until 1979 that Richard Nolle first defined the Supermoon, which is now a widely-used term.
The astrologer explained that the phenomenon is “a new or full Moon which occurs with the Moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit”.
Based on Nolle’s theory, the moon would have to be around 226,000 miles away from the Earth to be considered “super”.
Because of its relatively close proximity to the Earth, the celestial body’s surface appears a lot bigger when a Supermoon occurs.
The different types of Moon
Here are some of the most interesting Moon phases and when to see them…
A Blue Moon refers to the occasion when a full Moon appears for the second time in the same month, this is very rare and the next Blue Moon should occur on Halloween in 2020.
The Harvest Moon appears around the time of the autumnal equinox when farmers tend to do their main crop harvesting.
A Supermoon appears when it is at its closest point to Earth and therefore at its brightest, the next one will appear in September.
A Blood Moon occurs during a total lunar eclipse, the next one should happen in May 2020.
Each month of the year actually has its own special full moon phenomenon, they are as follows:
- January: Wolf Moon
- February: Snow Moon
- March: Worm Moon
- April: Pink Moon
- May: Flower Moon
- June: Strawberry Moon
- July: Buck Moon
- August: Sturgeon Moon
- September: Full Corn Moon
- October: Hunter’s Moon
- November: Beaver Moon
- December: Cold Moon.
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