February’s Supermoon peaked in the early hours of this morning, when our celestial satellite made an usually close approach with Earth. Shortly after 9am GMT, the Full Moon will be near its point of perigee. But the Moon will not reach full brightness until later today – but will the UK’s wintery weather disappoint selenophiles eager for a good look at the Full Moon?
UK Met Office weather forecasters have warned that February’s traditionally overcast conditions could leave many stargazers disappointed this evening.
And the outlook looks particularly ominous for would-be stargazers in Scotland and the north of England.
The south of England will be the best place to see the Super Snow Moon, as it will remain clear and dry.
Emma Smith, a Met Office weather forecaster, said: “Rain coming in from the west will make it a wet day for many access the UK.
“It really will be quite overcast tonight although there may be some breaks in clouds for those on the south coast.”
“There will be persistent rain in northern England, Scotland and Wales with heavy downpours of up to 60mm in higher areas.”
However it is thought there will be sunny spells for many, following a chilly start.
The Met Office weather forecaster continued: ”Dull, wet and windy weather will develop over Northern Ireland though, spreading into Scotland, northwest England and Wales later.
“It will be wet and windy at times across the north.
“For southern areas it will stay dry though, with some clear spells in the far south.”
Supermoons are significant astronomical events, whether the Moon appears nearly 30 percent brighter and approximately 14 percent larger than a typical full moon, according to astronomer Dr Paige Godfrey.
Dr Godfrey said: ”It is one of the few nights a year when people really notice the full moon rising.”
The Moon’s closest approach will bring it within 221,681 miles (356,761 km) of the Earth.
This is approximately 30,000 miles (50,000 km) nearer than it was only a fortnight ago, during the apoge.
The Supermoon’s gravitational pull on the Earth’s oceans will be considerable, generating extremely high tides, known as Spring Tides.
Why is it call a Super Snow Moon?
A Supermoon occurs when the Moon is simultaneously full and at its perigee, the point when the Moon is nearest Earth.
This means the Moon appears both larger and brighter in the sky at perigee.
Snow Moon is the name historically given to the second Full Moon of winter by Native American tribes in the US, due to the typical snowfall at this time of year.
And this winter weather is also the reason for its other, more evocative name, the Hunger Moon.
Daily Express :: Science Feed