Managed to miss Sunday’s supermoon? Don’t worry; the astronauts aboard the International Space Station have got you covered.
Here are a couple of snaps of the event that everyone’s been talking about, which were posted onto the Twitter account of cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev:
Credit: Oleg Artemyev, via Twitter.
The Moon’s orbit is elliptical, or oval in shape, which means that full Moons vary in size and brightness depending on how far the satellite is from Earth. When the Full Moon occurs at perigee-- the closest point to us in its orbit-- it appears particularly bright and large and hence is referred to as a “supermoon,” or a perigee moon. Perigee is around 50,000 km (31,000 miles) closer than the farthest point, which is referred to as apogee.
Perigee Moons are not unusual, but sometimes it can be difficult to tell them apart from an ordinary full Moon because they can be shrouded by clouds and haze. In fact, last year we were graced with 3 perigee moons, according to Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory, but only one seemed to hit the news.
So far this year we have already had two- one on Sunday 10th August and another on July 12th. On Sunday, the Moon appeared particularly spectacular due to the fact that it became full during the same hour as perigee, making it an “extra-super Moon” according to NASA. We’re due another on September 9th so don’t worry if you’ve missed the last two and are itching to catch a glimpse of this phenomenon.