Last weekend’s Supermoon was greeted with the flashing of camera’s and the clacking of lens bags with some incredible pictures of the phenomenon being captured last Friday night. The pictures are fantastic, but they are little solace to anyone who missed the larger than usual moon because of work, other plans, or just downright bad weather.
Luckily for those who missed last weekend’s eye-candy, the Supermoon is going to return in August, and this time it’s going to be bigger than ever. The difference between the two is probably impossible to gauge with the naked eye, but scientists have calculated that the next instance of Supermoon, due to hit on August 9, will be even bigger than last weekend’s as the moon will be slightly closer.
Supermoon summer continues
Last weekend’s Supermoon, and the one due in August will be joined on this Summer’s list of astronomical phenomena by a third larger-than-life moon at the beginning of September. That moon, which will round off the expected Supermoons for 2014 at the very least, is set to appear on the night of September 9. A Supermoon is called when the moon is full at its closest point to the planet earth.
The moon follows an elliptical orbit around the blue planet, and only comes this close once a moon-year. The natural satellite takes just over 400 days to complete a full circuit meaning that there should be a Supermoon once every 400 days or so. The massive figure of the moon in the sky is not, however, caused by its closeness to the viewer. A Supermoon is actually an optical illusion that makes the moon appear 30% larger than normal in the night sky.
Astrology explains the Supermoon
The term Supermoon is actually descended from astrology, a study on the less respected side of the scientific continuum. The term was first coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979. The less than scientific origins of the name mean that scientists of a certain bent prefer the technical term, perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system. That’s a little hard to remember for most people, and the term Supermoon adequately describes the image for the majority of the population.
In Astrology, however, Supermoon does not just refer to the way the body appears in the night sky, it also describes the effects that the moon has on people when it’s in that state. In astrology the moon is often associated with female emotions, and astrologers warn that females may be more emotional while the Supermoon is in the sky, dominating astrological affairs.
The Supermoon is also said to spur new beginnings and cause stronger than usual emotions in both males and females. Those who don’t believe in astrology can probably discount those effects, but there are more measurable theories about the nature of the Supermoon. Some say that the closeness of the natural satellite can cause floods, tidal waves and earthquakes. Scientists saw there is little data to back up those claims.