Sunday, June 23, 2013

See The Summer Solstice Supermoon

Astronomy



Supermoon On the Rise: “This moon, seen from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, was the largest of 2012. This year’s supermoon will occur on June 23, and appear 8 percent larger and 17 percent brighter,” NatGeo says.
Photo Credit: Felipe Trueba; NatGeo; 2012
Source: NatGeo
An article in National Geographic, by Andrew Fazekas, says that viewers from earth will be able to see a moon that is larger than usual, in what astronomers officially call a “perigee full moon,” or laymen a “supermoon.”

Fazekas writes:
On June 23, the moon will be at its closest distance to Earth for 2013 while in its full phase. As a result, it will appear 8 percent larger and 17 percent brighter than usual—an event widely known as a supermoon. And making it a bit more special, thanks to coincidental timing, this supermoon will be coming on the heels of the June solstice, which takes place only two days before.
Armchair astronomers can also catch the sky show virtually via a live high-definition webcast of the supermoon through SLOOH telescopes in the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa, starting at 9 p.m. EDT or 6 p.m. PDT on June 23. 
The monthly full moon always looks like a big disk, but because its orbit around the Earth is egg-shaped, there are times in the lunar cycle when the moon is at its shortest distance from Earth (called perigee) and times when the moon is at its farthest distance from Earth (called apogee). Likewise, because the size of the moon's orbit varies slightly, each month's perigee is not always the same distance from Earth.
Two years ago, the so-called supermoon was the closest it's been in two decades—only 356,575 kilometers from Earth. For this weekend's perigee, the moon will be a tad farther from us at 356,991 kilometers. That's a bit closer than the typical 364,000 kilometers distance, and is set to occur on June 23 at 7:09 a.m. EDT. (The official full moon phase occurs at 7:32 a.m. EDT.)
"The exact moment when the moon is at perigee, it will be overhead in the southern Pacific Ocean," said Anthony Cook, an astronomical observer at Los Angeles's Griffith Observatory. "The western portion of the Americas will see this at sunrise/moonset, while the eastern portion of Asia/Australia will see it at sunset/moonrise."
Such astronomical sights are always exciting to view, since they give us a view of nature’s consistency and predictability and science’s ability to both observe and measure. But such sights are not only for the scientifically inclined, the artists in us, photographers to be sure, can enjoy the beauty and awesomeness of the moon, which often beckons us and captivates our imaginations and inner yearnings for discovery and escape.

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You can read the rest of the article at [NatGeo].

According to Live Science, Sunday’s supermoon will reach its peak fullness at 7:32 a.m. EDT. EarthKy.org gives the time of peak fullness at different U.S. time zones: 7:32 a.m. EDT, 6:32 a.m. CDT, 5:32 a.m. MDT and 4:32 a.m. PDT.