Supermoon: What is it and when can you see it in Europe?

A supermoon is expected to be seen around the world
A supermoon is expected to be seen around the world Copyright Reuters File Photo
By Shafi Musaddique
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The supermoon will capture everyone's imagination on Tuesday, but what exactly happens and when can you see it?


A brand new "supermoon" that is expected to draw crowds across the world will appear in the skies on Tuesday and it won’t return for another 7 years.

The moon will be at its closest point to the Earth while having every inch of its surface brightly illuminated by the sun, giving it a red sheen.

The combination of the two means a supermoon appears 14% bigger and 30% brighter. This is just an illusion — our brain is interpreting that the moon is closer because of its orbit and the sun’s brightness reflecting off it.

But catch it while you can; the best views in Europe is predicted to be after sunset. Anyone hoping to catch the best glimpse in France, Spain and Germany, should look at the sky between 6.15 to 7.15pm (GMT+1).

In 2011, a hazy red supermoon was seen exceptionally close to the earth — within 126 miles (203km) of its closest possible approach to our planet.

Since then, the term "supermoon" itself has become a popularised, catch-all term for the lunar event.

Astrologer Richard Nolle defined the term back in 1979 as a “new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.”

A supermoon happens a handful of times a year, but it’s not always at its closest point to the earth.

November 2016 was the closest that the moon has been to the earth.

2019 is predicted to see 3 consecutive supermoon’s. The next full moon, on March 21, will also be a supermoon — and the final one for this year.

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