Supermoons can appear bigger and brighter than usual and there have been four so far this year. Tonight’s Supermoon is the last one of 2020 and it coincides with the fifth Full Moon of the year. Also known as the Full Flower Moon, the Milk Moon and Corn Planting Moon, astronomers will not want to miss this spectacle.
The Supermoon will appear bigger and brighter because it will be near its lowest orbit of the planet.
As the Moon races around the Earth, its path is not perfectly circular and is instead elliptic.
As a result, the Moon is closer to or farther from us every night.
The Moon’s lowest orbit of Earth is known as the lunar perigee and the highest is the apogee.
If a Full Moon falls within 90 percent of apogee, it is known as a Supermoon.
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How to watch the Supermoon live online tonight?
The Moon reached full illumination by the Sun at 11.45am BST (10.45am UTC) today.
For many, the peak occurred in the daytime when the Moon was still below the horizon.
But the good news is you can watch the Supermoon tonight from the comfort of your home.
Courtesy of the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, you can watch the event in the embedded video player below.
Hosted by astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, the stream is scheduled to kick off at 7.30pm BST (6.30pm UTC).
Dr Masi will track the Moon as it rises over the picturesque skyline of Rome.
He said: “At Virtual Telescope we will share the show with you from Rome, admiring our satellite rising above the horizon.
“We hope to bring to you, at home, the beauty of the sky, during these hard times we are living all together.”
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How often does a Supermoon take place?
Supermoon is not a scientific term and is only loosely defined by astronomers.
The term was coined by astrologer Richard Noelle in 1979 as a Full Moon within 90 percent of lunar perigee.
By one definition, a Supermoon is a Full Moon within 90 percent of the Moon’s lowest point in a given orbit.
NASA lunar expert Gordon Johnston said: “Under this definition, in a typical year there can be three or four Full Supermoons in a row and three or four New Supermoons in a row.
“For 2020, the four Full Moons from February through May meet this 90% threshold.”
Another, much narrower definition defined a Supermoon as a Full Moon within 90 percent of the Moon’s lowest orbit in a given year.
By this definition, only the Full Moons in March, April and May are super.
The closest Supermoon of the year was in April – the Full Pink Moon.