Super Celestial Shows: August Supermoon and Perseids meteors (slideshow)
WASHINGTON, August 10, 2014 — Astronomers define the “super moon,” or “mega-moon,” as a perigee full moon or when the moon’s orbit brings it closest to the earth, making it appear larger than usual. When it is at its furthest point from the earth, it is in apogee.
This year, upward gazers were treated to a perigee full moon on July 12, and that show was brilliant. Mother Nature is giving us another, bigger-than-life super moon tonight, August 10.
Tonight’s show has Luna-loving photographers and astronomers particularly excited as it will be very close to the Earth and will be the brightest of 2014. NASA says tonight’s moon will be a full 14 percent larger, and 30 percent brighter than other full moons this year.
Supermoons are regular occurrences, happening every 13 months and 18 days, when the moon’s orbit brings it into perigee. The moon in perigee is around 50,000 km closer to earth than when it is furthest away, or in apogee.
A perigee full moon can also impact tides, producing high tides a few inches above normal.
You can visit the Farmer’s Almanac to see the full moon calendar with time/date for your city.
If it’s cloudy in your area, you will be able to watch live streaming video of what Slooh calls the “Mega-Moon” from various locations in North America, with commentary by Slooh’s Bob Berman and Paul Cox. A live stream from Slooh Observatory will be livestreamed here starting at 7:30pm EDT.
Viewers can ask show hosts questions during the show by tweeting with the hashtag #SloohMegaMoon.
“Nothing in the sky is more striking than the rising of an enormous-looking full moon,” Slooh astronomer Bob Berman said in a statement.
“And this will be largest since March, 2011. And although the size-enhancement is 11 percent compared to an apogee full moon like the the one this past January, it will seem even larger — much larger — thanks to the psycho-optical effect we will discuss during the show. And, thanks to the super-tides that day and the following day, Earth’s biosphere will definitely be affected by this event.”
There will also be recorded coverage of the night’s moonrise from Dubai, Australia and other locations around the globe that we will update during the day.
August also bring us some great planetary displays. Space.com writes:
Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus all get their time to shine this month. In fact, the only bright planet not available for viewing sometime during August is Mercury. The closest planet to the sun will be too near to the star to be seen from Earth.
Mars glows in the west-southwest sky during the evening hours this month, and Saturn is situated to the left of the Red Planet. The two planets are approaching on another as August progresses, meeting up in the sky on Aug. 23. Toward the end of the night early in the month, Venus pushes up above the east-northeast horizon, just ahead of the sun. By mid-month Jupiter will join it, and these two brilliant planets will await early risers on Aug. 18.
We also have the Perseid meteor showers that occur every August when the Earth passes through the comet Swift-Tuttle’s cosmic dirt trail. Due to the brightness left over from the super moon, Perseid meteors might be hard to spot.
The best time to see meteors is after sunset, when the moon is still low in the east, or just before sunrise, when the moon has traveled to the far west.
Perseid meteors this week will peak August 11 to 13.
We call it super moon, but its also known as a “sturgeon moon,” when the super moon heralded that sturgeon fish were plentiful and easy to catch in the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay. Other names are The Green Corn Moon, Red Moon and Grain Moon.
We call it beautiful, and dream inspiring! To see the supermoon, hope for clear skies, and look up.
Send us your super moon photos and we will add them to our slideshow! Following are some of our favorite photos — photographer identified when possible; some are raw shots, others are photoshopped art images; either way they are all beautiful