You probably have heard of this “supermoon” phenomenon by now. It’s the coincidence of our upcoming full moon (which occurs tomorrow) with the moon’s closest approach to Earth in its orbit. You may have even tried to get an early glimpse by looking up into the heavens last night or the night before. Here are some good photos captured by some of you over the last 12 hours…
Christina in Winchester took this one…
Richard in Mt. Juliet snapped this view this morning, as the moon set over Old Hickory Lake.
Last night worked well to see it, but tonight will be even better. The reason is two fold. First, the moon will be much CLOSER to Earth tonight. The moon travels around the Earth in an elliptical orbit, not circular. It makes one pass around every 29.5 days. Less than two weeks ago, the moon was at apogee which means it was at its greatest distance from Earth — 252,688 miles. Tomorrow, it’ll be at perigee — it’s closest approach to Earth — at a distance of 221,524 miles. That occurs at 5:20am. That’s more than a 30,000 mile difference over just 14 days! So while the moon looked spectacular last night, it’ll be even moreso tonight because it’ll be quite a bit closer to us.
The moon will also look more impressive tonight because it’ll be more full. Last night, it was still considered a waxing gibbous moon, which means the full disk wasn’t illuminated completely. Tonight, we’ll be closer to that full state. The moon will be completely full tomorrow at 7:52am.
SO…with all that said, moonrise will look very impressive tonight and tomorrow. Moonset tomorrow morning however might be the most breathtaking of all, since that time will best coincide with when the moon is full and at perigee.
Because of an optical illusion that makes the moon seem larger near the horizon, moonset and moonrise will always be the best times to view a spectacle like this, assuming the weather cooperates. For your convenience, I’ve listed the moonrise and moonset times for our area for tonight and tomorrow.
Moonrise tonight: 4:27pm
Moonset tomorrow: 6:12am
Moonrise tomorrow: 5:15pm
Rain is looking increasingly promising for our area this Friday into Saturday. I’ll share more on that this morning on Channel 4 News Today, from 8am until 9am. Daphne DeLoren will have another update tonight, on Channel 4 News at 5pm.