May 7, 2012
Supermoon Of 2012 Becomes Global Event
This weekend's highly-anticipated supermoon was the featured attraction for thousands of people worldwide, as the once-a-year event caused skygazers and amateur photographers to flock to key viewing sites for a look at the astronomical phenomenon.
"With much of the UK swaddled in the traditional bank holiday blanket of rain and even snow clouds, it wasn't the greatest sky watching weekend. However, those fortunate enough to be under clear skies in many countries saw one of the natural world's most spectacular light shows: a supermoon, when the celestial body appears startlingly large and bright as its closest approach to Earth coincides with its fullest phase," Maev Kennedy of the Guardian reported on Sunday."In Brazil it illuminated the landmark Christ the Redeemer statue and later set behind a shanty town. In Florida, fishermen worked their lines amid the moonlight in Bal Harbour. And near Athens, tourists watched as the moon rose behind the Temple of Poseidon," the Associated Press (AP) added.
According to BBC News, the perigee full moon or "supermoon" -- the full moon that is closest to the Earth at the time when it occurs -- appears to be as much as 14% larger and 30% lighter versus when it is furthest away from the planet. This year's perigee moon was reportedly at its brightest around 11:30pm Eastern (03:30 GMT) on Saturday night.
Last year's supermoon, which occurred in March 2011, was brighter than this year's, Kennedy said. In 2013, however, the Earth's satellite will be further away from the planet, and thus will appear smaller and/or dimmer than it did over the past weekend.
"If we define a supermoon as the biggest, brightest full moon of a given year, next year's supermoon will be almost as good as this year's, on June 23, 2013," MSNBC.com's Alan Boyle wrote on Sunday. "The supermoon of 2014 will be brighter, and the 2016 supermoon will outdo last year's, which got the moongazing fad started."
"The next big sky event is coming up on May 20, when the new moon blots out most of the sun to create an annular solar eclipse" he added. "A wide swath of the Asia-Pacific region and North America will see a partial eclipse, while folks situated along a narrow track of territory extending from China across to the Oregon-California coast and down to Texas can witness a 'Ring of Fire,' in which the moon's disk covers all but the thin rim of the sun's disk."