The supermoon on Sunday night completely overshadowed the Perseid meteor shower. It was the biggest supermoon of this year. The moon appeared 30% brighter and 14% bigger than normal as it reached a point, called perigee, closest to the Earth in its orbit. At this point, the moon appeared larger than anything observed in the sky for decades.
You can view the supermoon again on September 9
The reason behind the hype around the August 10 supermoon was that it was the closest it has been to our planet in more than 20 years. An extremely bright supermoon was also seen on July 12. Another one will appear again on September 9, in case you missed the previous two. But Sunday night’s moon appeared far bigger and brighter because it became full in less than an hour of reaching the perigee point in its orbit.
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The supermoons occur quite frequently, usually once every 13 months 18 days. But we can’t always notice them because of poor weather and clouds. An interesting thing about supermoons is that they are proven to increase sea levels on the Earth. That’s because the gravitational pull of them moon (Earth’s closest neighbor) rises as it inches closer.
Brightness of the supermoon drowns out the meteor shower
The Perseid meteor shower also occurred Sunday night. But it was drowned out in the brightness of the supermoon for most viewers. But Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) celebrated the arrival of the annual celestial event with a Doodle. The homepage of the search engine showed shooting meteors against the backdrop of an ever-changing sky.
The Perseid meteor shower is so-called because it is believed to come from a radiant that lies in the constellation of Perseus. The constellation was named after a character in Greek mythology. It can be seen from mid-July every year, but the event is most prominent between August 9-14. The meteor shower has been linked to the comet Swift-Tuttle. The Perseid meteor shower was first discovered by Belgian astronomer Adolphe Quetelet in 1835.