UAE sky watchers and photo enthusiasts will be treated to another celestial event, as the biggest and brightest full moon of the year, called a “supermoon” peaks on Sunday August 10, astronomers confirmed.
A supermoon occurs when the moon’s elliptical orbit, also known as perigee, brings the moon closer to the earth, making it look larger and brighter than normal.
This year’s largest full moon, the second to occur this summer, will be as much as 14 per cent closer and 30 per cent brighter than other full moons of the year, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa).
People in the UAE will be able to gaze at the moon any time after 7:30pm tonight, although the increase in size may not be clearly visible to the naked eye. Nevertheless, astronomers encourage the public to enjoy the event.
“The moon rises over the eastern horizon in Dubai this evening at 6.36pm. But since the sun wouldn’t have set by then, the moon will not be too bright. Any time after 7.30pm would be a good time to gaze at the moon,” Rohan Roberts, one of the lead astronomers for Café Sci Astronomy Group in Dubai, told Gulf News.
“I’d encourage the public to step out and gaze at the supermoon, not because they’ll see an extraordinarily large moon, but simply because it’s a celestial event, and it does us good every now and again to look up and contemplate the beauty of the night skies and take a cosmic perspective of who we are and where we’re headed.”
There’s been so much hype about supermoon sightings, especially with several social media posts showing photos of an incredibly large full moon. A supermoon is also considered by some people as an ominous sign of disasters to come.
But Roberts clarified that the increase in the moon’s size is hardly discernible to the naked eye. “In fact, if someone didn’t tell you it was a supermoon, the average person wouldn’t really notice anything different at all.”
“Most of the images in social media which depict a gigantic moon are either photoshopped or [have used] visual trickery.” As to the belief that the event causes earthquakes and super tides, Roberts said “there is no truth in it at all.”