Tag Archives: supermoon

A Supermoon on a night so revered!

It is one of the most awaited celestial phenomenon of the year- the Supermoon. This year it was special as moon was closest to earth  since 1948. It was just 356, 509 kilometres away. For us Indians, the supermoon night was one of the most auspicious full moon night of the year- Kartik Purnima or the full moon day of the Kartik month of the hindu calendar.

Skygazers took to high-rise buildings, tourist landmarks and beaches worldwide on Monday to catch a glimpse of the closest supermoon in almost seven decades. Many of enthusiastic Indians enjoyed the sight of the moon while taking dip in waters of many holy rivers. Actually, on the occasion of Kartik Purnima people take dip in the rivers considered to be holy. This bath is taken mostly in the early hours of the full moon day. It is considered to be the one of the most auspicious days of the year. Incidentally, this is the day when founder of the Sikh religion- Guru Nanakdev was born.

So, like the enthusiasts around the world, I too was waiting for the grand day to capture some precious moments. I even tried to test my photography skills a day before and this was the result post correction-

Prelude to the supermoon, the night before!

On the eventual day, I traveled a bit to look for a clear view of the moon. I was finally able to manage at a place. It was fascinating to see, how the colours and brightness of the moon kept changing as it moved on to journey upward from horizon to sky.

You can see for yourself-

Reddish orange at the time of moonrise

It turned from red to yellow-


… and also bit brighter-





There is a lot of difference between what is seen through a naked eye and what is seen through a telephoto lens.  It is said that this supermoon was 14 percent larger and over 30 percent brighter. But that is not enough difference to notice by a common viewer through naked eye. See for yourself-



Well, and finally it shed all its colours to become full bright, still equally charming, first this-


…. and this-


Supermoons are quite common and appear on our sky once every 14 months on a average. This year (2016) itself had six super moons and  months of October, November and December are going to have three consecutive super moons, this year.

Will end the post with another post-correction view of the Supermoon-


You missed it? Don’t worry, we are going to have another supermoon on 14th December, slightly smaller than yesterday’s one. But talking of closer than yesterday? That will now be only in 2034 when moon will be another 64 kms closer than yesterday’s supermoon. Not a big deal. Isn’t it!


This full moon will also be a supermoon

I talked about the events and festivals related to the coming full moon day, referred to as Kartik Poornima in hindu calendar in my last post . (Read it here: A full moon and a month full of festivals) But mark it, this full moon will also be a supermoon. It would be a an astronomical event that happened last time 68 years ago and will next happen only after 18 years.

‘Science Alert’ says that, “If you only see one astronomical event this year, make it the November supermoon, when the Moon will be the closest to Earth it’s been since January 1948.” During the event, which will happen on the eve of November 14, the Moon will appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than an average full moon. This is the closest the Moon will get to Earth until 25 November 2034, so you really don’t want to miss this one.

So how do you get a supermoon?

As NASA explains, because the Moon has an elliptical orbit, one side – called the perigee – is about 48,280 km (30,000 miles) closer to Earth than the other side (the apogee).  When the Sun, the Moon, and Earth line up as the Moon orbits Earth, that’s known as syzygy. When this Earth-Moon-Sun system occurs with the perigee side of the Moon facing us, and the Moon happens to be on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun, we get what’s called a perigee-syzygy. That causes the Moon to appear much bigger and brighter in our sky than usual, and it’s referred to as a supermoon – or more technically, a perigee moon.

(See below couple of images from the last full moon on 16th October)

Supermoons aren’t all that uncommon – we just had one on October 16, and after the November 14 super-supermoon, we’ll have another one on December 14. But because the November 14 Moon becomes full within about 2 hours of perigee, it’s going to look the biggest it has in nearly seven decades. “The full moon of November 14 is not only the closest full moon of 2016, but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century,” says NASA. “The full moon won’t come this close to Earth again until 25 November 2034.”

Depending on where you’re viewing it from, the difference between a supermoon and a regular full moon can be stark, or difficult to tell. If the Moon is hanging high overhead, and you have no buildings or landmarks to compare it to, it can be tricky to tell that it’s larger than usual. (Budding photographers take note of it!)

See some striking images of 2014 supermoon from around the world-

But if you’re viewing from a spot where the Moon is sitting closer to the horizon, it can create what’s known as ‘moon illusion’. “When the moon is near the horizon, it can look unnaturally large when viewed through trees, buildings, or other foreground objects,” says NASA. “The effect is an optical illusion, but that fact doesn’t take away from the experience.”

Watch this video to know more about this year’s supermoon.