Dubai: The night sky was made brighter on Wednesday with the appearance of the third Supermoon of the year — the biggest yet this year.
Several residents gathered at Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre at Mushrif Park in Dubai for a special skywatching event organised by Dubai Astronomy Group (DAG). The celestial treat was visible even with the naked eye from 6.07pm onwards (UAE time). While people were fascinated by the superbright moon and observed it with their naked eye and through observation telescopes, DAG also delivered a lecture, explaining the Supermoon phenomenon.
Apogee and perigee
According to DAG, the moon appeared bigger and brighter because of its closeness to Earth — being only 357,264 kilometres away.
The moon orbits the Earth in an ellipse, meaning it can be at times closer and farther from Earth as it goes around. The farthest point in this ellipse is called the apogee, which is 405,500km from Earth. Its closest point is the perigee, which is 363,300km away from Earth. When a full moon appears at perigee, it is slightly brighter and larger than a regular full moon and called the Supermoon — a term coined by American astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979.
Wednesday’s Supermoon was the third this year. The first one appeared on May 16, when the moon was 362,127km away from Earth. The second Supermoon took place on June 14, when moon and Earth were 357,658km apart. Supermoons happen three to four times a year and the last one in 2022 will be on August 12.