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Super Blue Moon: What is it, and where are the best places to see it in Europe?

FILE - A plane passes in front of a supermoon, July 13, 2022
FILE - A plane passes in front of a supermoon, July 13, 2022 Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews with AP
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Here's everything you need to know about Wednesday night's spectacular lunar phenomenon which is the closest full moon of the year - and won't be seen again until 2037!

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Stargazers are in for a double treat this week: a rare "Super Blue Moon" and Saturn peeking from behind.

The cosmic curtain rises Wednesday night with the second full moon of the month, the reason it’s considered blue. It’s dubbed a Super Moon because it’s closer to Earth than usual, appearing especially big and bright.

This will be the closest full moon of the year, just 357,344 km or so away. That’s more than 160 km closer than the last Super Moon on 1 August. 

As a bonus, Saturn will be visible as a bright point 5 degrees to the upper right of the moon at sunset in the east-southeastern sky, according to NASA. The ringed planet will appear to circle clockwise around the moon as the night wears on.

There won’t be another blue supermoon until 2037, according to Italian astronomer Gianluca Masi, founder of the Virtual Telescope Project.

Gravitational pull can be dangerous

While a supermoon can make for a spectacular backdrop in photos of landmarks around the world, its intensified gravitational pull also makes tides higher. 

That's because when the moon is full, the sun and the moon are pulling in the same direction, which has the effect of increasing tides above normal ranges. 

The moon's gravitational pulls are even stronger when it's closer to Earth, so the tides are even higher.

Best places in Europe to watch the Super Blue Moon

If you're in the UK and hoping to see the Suber Blue Moon tonight then visibility depends where in the country you are. 

"Tonight there is a band of cloud moving into the west and southwest. So the best chance of any good sightings will be in central, eastern, and northern parts of the UK where there will be good spells of clear skies," Oliver Claydon from the Met Office tells Euronews. 

"Under those clear skies it will be quite chilly, so wrap up warm if you are heading out to catch a glimpse," he adds. 

Across the rest of Europe, there is a band of rain running from southwest to northeast France and into the Low Countries, northern Germany, and Denmark which brings cloud cover that could obscure the night sky. 

There's cloud cover too across southern Norway, parts of central Sweden, and over much of Finland. 

It's a similar story through much of Germany, in central Italy, and through the Balkans where there are storms in the forecast. 

Spain and Portugal however remain almost cloud-free on Wednesday evening.

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