The First Supermoon Of The Year Will Be Visible This Weekend
Forget all about the stars lining up on the Oscars' red carpet this weekend, because Sunday is all about another celestial event: the first supermoon of 2020.
The first of four supermoons due to take place this year, it will be the first since 20 March 2019.
According to NASA, a supermoon occurs when the moon's orbit is 'closest (perigee) to Earth at the same time it is full'.
The term 'perigee' itself refers to the point during the moon's at which it is nearest to the Earth.
The NASA website explains: "The term 'supermoon' was coined in 1979 and is often used today to describe what astronomers would call a perigean (pear-ih-jee-un) full moon: a full moon occurring near or at the time when the Moon is at its closest point in its orbit around Earth.
"The term gives preference to the geometric alignment of Sun-Earth-Moon and allows the occurrence of perigee into a wider time period than the actual instant of perigee (up to about two weeks, which is almost half of the Moon's orbit)."
People around the world should be able to see the supermoon on display on 9 February.
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According to the Independent, in the UK, the exact time where the effect will appear its strongest will be at 7.34am - weather depending, of course.
At this time of the year the full moon has traditionally been referred to as the Full Snow Moon or the Full Hunger Moon. This is because it has often coincided with heavy snowfall and, in turn, adverse hunting conditions.
The moon will appear full from Saturday to Monday, but NASA's Gordon Johnston says there's also more celestial sights on display this weekend.
"On the morning of the full Moon on 9 February as morning twilight begins, the planet Jupiter will be the brightest planet in the sky, appearing in the southeast at about eight degrees above the horizon," he said.
"The planet Saturn will appear next in brightness to the lower left of Jupiter at about two degrees above the horizon. Lying roughly in a line with Saturn and Jupiter, the planet Mars will appear to the upper right of Jupiter at about 19 degrees above the horizon."
Let's just hope Storm Ciara goes easy on us so we can see all this, eh?
Featured Image Credit: PA