New Delhi : Supermoon, a rare celestial event, occurs when a full or new moon coincides with a Moon that is nearing its minimum distance (perigee) to Earth. The Moon takes an elliptical orbit around Earth, which means that its average distance changes from as far as 405,000 km (its apogee) to as close as 363,000 km at the perigee. The coincidence between a supermoon and an eclipse means that Earth’s lone companion is expected to look 7-8% bigger. The eclipse – which made the Moon appear red – has been visible in North America, South America, West Africa and Western Europe.
People around the world are watching the skies to observe this rare celestial event, as a lunar eclipse coincides with a so-called “supermoon”. A supermoon occurs when the Moon is in the closest part of its orbit to Earth, meaning it appears larger in the sky.
This phenomenon was last observed in 1982 and won’t come again until 2033. Skygazers in the western half of North America, the rest of Europe and Africa, the Middle East and South Asia were expected to see a partial eclipse. From the UK, observers saw the Moon pass through the Earth’s shadow in the early hours of Monday morning. In North and South America the eclipse was seen on Sunday evening. The supermoon, where Earth’s satellite is near its minimum distance from our planet, means that the Moon will appear 7-8% larger in the sky.
The moon may achieve a rust-coloured look during a total lunar eclipse – justifying its name Blood Moon. This is due to the phenomenon of dispersion of light rays, wherein Earth’s atmosphere scatters blue light more strongly than red light, and this red cluster of beams land upon lunar surface, emitting a red radiance.
Observers on Earth may see a Moon that is brick-coloured, rusty, blood red or sometimes dark grey, depending on terrestrial conditions.