This Is What’s Special About A Full Supermoon Occurring On The Equinox This Year
“You may remember that two months ago, in January, we received a total lunar eclipse: where the Sun, Earth, and full Moon were perfectly aligned. Now that it’s two months later, the full Moon is misaligned, because the plane that the Moon orbits the Earth in is tilted with respect to the Sun.
This is incredible for science! On any old equinox, you can measure your latitude on Earth; on any solstice, you can measure the axial tilt of the Earth. Well, on an equinox that coincides with a full Moon, you can measure how far out of the Sun-Earth plane the Moon actually is at this particular moment in time. And if you know when the last eclipse was and the next eclipse will be, you can actually determine the tilt of the Moon’s orbit. Here’s how.”
If you had a perfectly vertical stick on the day of the equinox, by measuring the shadow it casts when the Sun reaches its highest point above the horizon, you can measure your latitude. Yet that very night, when we have a full Moon, measuring the same shadow on the same object will give you a very different answer, by a little more than 4 degrees.
The reason is because the Moon’s orbit is tilted with respect to the Earth-Sun plane.
This is brilliant! Make that measurement yourself, and you can calculate the Moon’s orbital tilt for yourself. Here’s how.
This Is Why February’s Full Supermoon Is The Biggest, Brightest Full Moon Until 2026
“The Moon is our most constant and easily-visible companion in the night sky, with only the daytime Sun outshining it. When it reaches its closest point to Earth, at perigee, it exerts the greatest tidal forces and moves the most rapidly with respect to our world. When sunlight falls on the side of the Moon completely facing us, we see the Moon at its fullest phase. And when those two things line up — perigee and the full Moon — we see the Moon at its largest and brightest of all: a Supermoon.
The Supermoon of February 19th, 2019, will be the largest, brightest, closest full Moon that Earth will experience until 2026. If you have clear skies at all before sunrise in the morning or after sunset in the evening on Tuesday, you owe it to yourself to check it out. The wonders of the Universe rarely hit so close to home. Bring your eyes and a sense of wonder, and don’t forget to look up.”
Do you enjoy looking at the Moon? Do you like knowing when it’s going to be at its biggest, brightest, and most “super” in the sky? Well, not only does this Tuesday, Februrary 19th, hold a treat for skywatchers all over the world, but it’s a treat we won’t get again in such a spectacular fashion until Christmas Eve of 2026.
The Supermoon of February 19, 2019, will be the biggest, brightest full Moon for more than 7 years. Here’s the story behind it that you won’t want to miss!
Supermoon Lunar Eclipse To Become The First Pan-American Total Eclipse In 19 Years
“But what makes this eclipse so special is when it occurs relative to the Earth’s rotation. When the first stage of the eclipse begins, Europe and Africa will be nearing sunrise, but all of North and South America (as well as parts of Russia) will be full-on into the start of night.
As the Earth continues to turn and the Moon moves through the Earth’s shadow, the eclipse will go from penumbral to partial to total, with totality lasting for over an hour, before becoming a partial and then penumbral eclipse again.
Small portions of northern Europe and northern Asia will experience the entirety of the eclipse, but all of North and South America will get to view the entire thing. This marks the first Pan-American eclipse of the 21st century!”
On January 20/21, 2019, the Moon will slip into the Earth’s umbral shadow, creating the spectacular sight of a total lunar eclipse. The Moon will be at perigee during this event, meaning that this event will be a Supermoon eclipse, and will occur everywhere on Earth that’s experiencing night at this time. While Iceland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and parts of Norway, Portugal, and Russia will get to see the whole thing, so will the entirety of North and South America, marking the first Pan-American eclipse of the 21st century, and the last one we’ll get until 2058!
Come get the full story of this amazing upcoming event visible to half of the Earth later this month!
How Rare Is The All-In-One Supermoon, Blue Moon, And Lunar Eclipse, Really?
“With all that, we can combine this information to arrive at how frequently we expect all of these to occur together:
- Blue Moons make up about 3% of all full Moons,
- Supermoons are approximately 25% of all full Moons, and
- Total lunar eclipses occur during 5.6% of full Moons,
meaning that a Blue, Super, totally eclipsed Moon occurs with 0.042% of full Moons: once every 2,380 full Moons or so. On average, that corresponds to once every 265 years!”
On January 31st, 2018, an event that hasn’t occurred in the United States since 1866 will come to pass: a supermoon that’s also a blue moon, that’s also a total lunar eclipse. Sounds exciting, and incredibly rare! But if we look worldwide, we find that there was another such event just in 1982. This is puzzling when you consider that these events should only occur on timescales of centuries! Is this only a coincidence that we’re having so many “super blue blood moons” right now? Or is there a different explanation? You don’t know until you actually look at the science behind it, and that’s exactly what we’re doing here.
How rare is a supermoon, blue moon, and lunar eclipse together? Find out, and learn the best opportunities to see it!
Today’s supermoon as seen in southern Germany