March 24, 2019

"Super snow moon" will be 2019's biggest and brightest

21 February 2019, 11:40 | Edward Lowe

A super snow moon visible over Berlin Germany. Credit PA Images

A super snow moon visible over Berlin Germany. Credit PA Images

But the moon is also orbiting in an ellipse, or a sort of oval shape around the Earth and one point of that oval puts the moon closer to the Earth than another side of the oval might. However, this event usually has lesser attention because this kind of moon is invisible from Earth. While this will be smaller than the one on Tuesday, it will be "significantly larger" than the smallest full moon of the year, said the spokesman.

The third and last Supermoon of the year will be on March 19, when the perigee distance will be reached a day and five hours before the full Moon, NASA said.

Because of the nature of the snow moon, it's possible that the snowy weather just might come between you and this wow-worthy celestial moment.

It's the second of three supermoons to light up the skies this year, following the Super Blood Wolf Moon that took place on January 21 and preceding yet another on March 21. According to NASA, the origin of this name is Indian (Native American), with it being published in the Maine Farmer's Almanac in the 1930s, along with other Indian names for the full Moons.

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Skygazers were treated to a rare sight last night and this morning as a Super Snow Moon was in full illumination. That's because it's winter in the northern hemisphere, and snow often blankets the ground during this time.

Just what is a snow moon?

Perhaps ironically, our closer-than-usual view of the annual snow moon may be obscured by snow itself. That orbit is not perfectly circular - it has a slightly elliptical or oval shape - which leads to the variation. But it can creep as close as roughly 221,500 miles and as far as 252,700 miles.

Supermoons occur when the Moon's orbit brings it to the closest point to Earth while the Moon is full. In fact, it is hard to clearly see the difference between a regular full moon and a supermoon, which appears up to 14 percent larger and about 30 percent brighter in the sky.

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There's no universally agreed-upon definition of a supermoon.

On average, the moon is 238,856 miles from Earth.

The astronomical event is also known as "Super Snow Moon" as the get closest to the Earth to appear bigger and brighter.

In early Native American tribes, the phenomenon was known as a 'super snow moon' as February usually sees the heaviest snowfall, (although there's now no snow forecast here in the UK).

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