Rare super worm moon will loom large as it coincides with equinox

Feb 8, 2018
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Phenomenon last occurred in spring 1905 and won’t happen again until the year 2144.

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Those gazing up into the sky on Wednesday are set to witness an unusual event: a super worm moon that coincides with the equinox.

It will be the third time this year a full moon has occurred near to the moon’s closest approach to the Earth – making it a supermoon – and will be the last such event in 2019. Those venturing out can expect to see the moon looming larger than usual in the night sky.

Its unusual moniker is rooted in agricultural practices and is a nod to the emergence of worms in the soil around the time of the March full moon, although it is not the only sobriquet applied to a full moon in March: such an event is also known as a sap moon.

“A lot of the names that are used to describe the full moons throughout the year come from a native North American tradition so things like the appearance of wolves or the snow,” said Tom Kerss, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

February’s full moon – a snow moon – was also a supermoon, while January’s full moon – a “wolf moon” – was not only a supermoon, but also boasted a lunar eclipse.

However, it isn’t only the name that makes this lunar event different: this supermoon will occur the same night as the northern hemisphere’s spring equinox where day and night are of the same duration – albeit with full illumination taking place at just before 2am GMT, a fewhours after the equinox itself.

“We don’t always have, during the equinox, a full moon, it can be any phase of the moon,” said Dr Emily Brunsden, director of the University of York’s Astrocampus.

Sophie Yeomans, a meteorologist at the Met Office, said there is a good chance that sky-gazers, particularly in England, will be able to catch a glimpse of the super worm moon.

“Western Wales might be quite difficult, north-west England, some parts of Northern Ireland and Western Scotland I think might struggle a bit,” she said. “Elsewhere there will be gaps in the cloud, it’s just a matter of waiting.”

Kerss said it is a rare event for a supermoon to coincide with the equinox. “We have been looking at the records for the occurrence of what we call supermoons today. The last time that this occurred so close to the point of the equinox was in the year 1905, in March over 100 years ago,” he said, although he noted the term “supermoon” is a recent term. “It looks to us that the next time we see this with the spring equinox, at least, won’t occur until the year 2144. So for most of us this could be called a once in a lifetime coincidence.”

Source (Guardian)

Live feeds if you can't see it, otherwise please post a pic.


https://www.space.com/40075-stonehenge-pyramids-prehistoric-astronomers.html

https://www.virtualtelescope.eu/webtv/
 

Skyr

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Sep 4, 2013
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Holy shit I was taking a few pictures of the moon as I couldn't believe my eyes how large it was that one day back in february.

I knew I wasn't taking crazy pills but I had NO IDEA of this phenomenon. Pretty crazy to think I will never see it again in my lifetime.
 
Feb 8, 2018
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Last one for our lifetimes, maybe not all of us.

Moon.jpg


Bloody cloudy here in Ruislip, London but if it pops out I'll post a pic (of the moon). Did notice it yesterday, but didn't realise the rarity.
 
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rivv3r

Neo Member
Feb 24, 2019
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That's a totally neat phenomenon that I'm going to forget about.
 
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TrainedRage

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Feb 3, 2018
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On my drive into work this morning the moon was the biggest I have seen in my life. It was pretty cool.
 

EviLore

Expansive Ellipses
Staff member
May 30, 2004
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Man how real is this?

Diameters of the planets:
  • Jupiter - (diameter = 142,800 km)
  • Saturn - (diameter = 120,660 km)
  • Uranus - (diameter = 51,118 km)
  • Neptune - (diameter -= 49,528 km)
  • Earth - (diameter = 12,756 km)
  • Venus - (diameter = 12,104 km)
  • Mars - (diameter = 6787 km)
  • Mercury - (diameter = 4879.4 km)
  • Pluto (dwarf planet) - (diameter = 2300 km)
(discard Earth and Pluto)

387,876.4 km total diameter of the planets we're trying to fit there.

At a glance, this might look false, since the distance between the Earth and the Moon is listed as 384,400 km (slightly smaller than the distance we require here).

However, the Moon's orbit is elliptical, so the distance varies. This is why we can observe phenomena like the Super Moon. At perigee, the distance is approximately 360,000 km, and at apogee, the distance is approximately 405,000 km. The planets would fit in there >40% of the time.

In summary, yeah, it's real.
 

mckmas8808

Member
May 24, 2005
39,858
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Diameters of the planets:
  • Jupiter - (diameter = 142,800 km)
  • Saturn - (diameter = 120,660 km)
  • Uranus - (diameter = 51,118 km)
  • Neptune - (diameter -= 49,528 km)
  • Earth - (diameter = 12,756 km)
  • Venus - (diameter = 12,104 km)
  • Mars - (diameter = 6787 km)
  • Mercury - (diameter = 4879.4 km)
  • Pluto (dwarf planet) - (diameter = 2300 km)
(discard Earth and Pluto)

387,876.4 km total diameter of the planets we're trying to fit there.

At a glance, this might look false, since the distance between the Earth and the Moon is listed as 384,400 km (slightly smaller than the distance we require here).

However, the Moon's orbit is elliptical, so the distance varies. This is why we can observe phenomena like the Super Moon. At perigee, the distance is approximately 360,000 km, and at apogee, the distance is approximately 405,000 km. The planets would fit in there >40% of the time.

In summary, yeah, it's real.

Crazy! For some reason, I never realized that the planets were so small (relatively speaking). I think it's the Solar System models you see as a kid that throw you off. It makes the planets look so huge compared to the space in between.
 
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EviLore

Expansive Ellipses
Staff member
May 30, 2004
20,749
6,720
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Crazy! For some reason, I never realized that the planets were so small (relatively speaking). I think it's the Solar System models you see as a kid that throw you off. It makes the planets look so huge compared to the space in between.

Check out the new Apollo 11 documentary in theaters if you get the chance! It helps put everything in perspective with the distances involved.
 
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Feb 8, 2018
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Last chance tonight, and it's the final supermoon of the year. If anyone tells you any others this year are super, then get some of what they're on.

Cloudy still here so these from other locations around the world.

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A lookout tower and the broadcast tower of Antenna Hungaria at the top of Karancs mountain are seen against the rising moon at Karancskeszi village,

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A view of the full moon over Mount Pico Sacro, just outside Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

If its out I'll take a pic.