US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Super moon occurs when the phase of the full moon coincides with its closest approach to the Earth in its orbit. Because of this event, the moon looks a little brighter and closer to us than usual, although this difference is difficult to notice with the naked eye.
The term “super moon” began to be used only in the last 40 years, but it received a lot of attention to itself at the end of 2016, when three super moons occurred in a row. The super moon in November 2016 was the largest supermoon in 69 years, although the moon will be even larger in the 2030s.
How the Super
Moon Happens The moon’s orbit around the Earth is not an ideal circle. Its average distance is 382,900 km from Earth, but its climax and perigee – the closest and most distant approximations from Earth – change every lunar month.
“The main reason the moon’s orbit isn’t a perfect circle is because a lot of tidal or gravitational forces are pulling on the moon,” said Noah Petro of NASA’s LRO mission.
He added that various gravitational forces of the Earth, the Sun and planets influence the orbit of the Moon. “You have all these different gravitational forces pulling and pushing the moon, but it gives us the opportunity to observe these close passages.”
Super moon needs two key ingredients. The moon should be at its closest approach to the Earth (perigee) in its 27-day orbit. The moon also needs to be in full phase, which happens every 29.5 days when the sun completely illuminates the moon. Super moon only happens a few times a year (at most) because the moon’s orbit changes direction, while the earth rotates around the sun.
The moon will look 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than usual, but it is very difficult to notice this difference with the naked eye.
However, the super moon may seem especially large to you when it happens very close to the horizon. But this has nothing to do with astronomy and is associated only with the work of the human brain. This effect is called the “moon illusion” and can occur at least due to several different things. Scientists suggest that perhaps the brain compares the moon with nearby buildings or objects, or perhaps our brain is simply set to treat things on the horizon as more than things in the sky.
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