NASA outline what makes a supermoon 'super'
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Astronomy enthusiasts are in for a treat this weekend, with a lot of ‘firsts’ just around the corner. The first Full Moon of spring and the first Supermoon of the year will peak in brightness tonight (March 29), and you do not want to miss the spectacle. The Supermoon will arrive under the guise of the annual Worm Moon – a name traditionally given to the third Full Moon of the year.
Weather permitting, this will be an unforgettable experience for just about anyone caught in the planet’s nightside.
But if your local forecast is full of clouds and rain, the good news is you can see the Supermoon online without leaving the comfort of your home.
Courtesy of the Virtual Telescope Project, you can watch the Supermoon here on Express.co.uk tonight.
And the good news does not end there, because although Supermoons are few and far between, some astronomers predict we will enjoy four this year.
How to watch the Supermoon live online tonight:
Thanks to the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, the Supermoon will be broadcast straight to your home.
All you need is a good internet connection and a computer, laptop, tablet or any other smart device.
The live stream is pencilled in to kick off at 5pm UTC or 6pm BST.
Gianluca Masi, astrophysicist and head of the Virtual Telescope, will track the Supermoon as it sails across the skies above Rome.
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He said: “Looking at the Full Moon at sunset is always memorable and the Virtual Telescope will share with the community worldwide the amazing experience to see it rising above the horizon in Rome.
He added: “We will admire our satellite rising at sunset from Rome, the Eternal City.
“It will be an unforgettable experience. Enjoy the Full Worm Moon 2021 with us!”
Astronomers predict this will be the fourth biggest and brightest Full Moon this year.
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What is a Supermoon?
The Moon’s orbit of the Earth is not perfectly round – it’s an ellipse – so the Moon is closer or farther from us each night.
The highest point in this orbit is known as the apogee and the lowest is called the perigee.
If a Full Moon happens to fall at or close to the perigee, it will appear slightly bigger and brighter than usual.
And though Supermoon is not an astronomical term, it often used to describe these perigee Moons.
The opposite – an apogee Moon – is often called a Micromoon as it can be slightly smaller than usual.
Astronomers don’t always agree on what makes a Supermoon ‘super’ and that can lead to some confusion.
Some astronomers consider every Full Moon near perigee ‘super’ and by this definition, we will have Supermoons on March 28, April 27, May 26 and June 24.
Others will argue only the closest Full Moons in a given year are ‘super’ enough to be called Supermoons.
By this definition, we will only have two Supermoons this year, on April 27 and May 26.
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