Supermoon 2021: Don’t miss the last Supermoon of the year this Thursday

Incredible blue supermoon lights up skies dazzling Londoners

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Skygazers all across the globe are in for a treat this week with the arrival of this year’s fourth and final Supermoon. Supermoons are a fairly rare astronomical spectacle, typically appearing only three to four times a year. This week’s Supermoon will arrive hot on the heels of the June 10 solar eclipse and the May 26 lunar eclipse.

When is the next Supermoon?

The next Supermoon will appear on June 24, the night of the annular Strawberry Moon – an unusual name attributed to Native American traditions.

Viewed from the UK, the Supermoon will rise in the southeast skies after 9pm, though the exact time will depend on your location.

In London for instance, the Moon will rise by about 9.37pm BST.

In Glasgow the Moon will rise by about 9.31pm BST.

The last Supermoon graced our skies on May 26, coinciding with a total lunar eclipse – the ominous Blood Moon.

What makes the Supermoon ‘super?’

You might have heard of Supermoons being much bigger and brighter than normal, but the reality of the event may be somewhat disappointing.

‘Supermoon’ is not a strictly scientific term so there is no clear-cut definition of what makes a Supermoon ‘super’.

Astronomers may, therefore, disagree whether any particular Full Moon fits the bill.

And the difference in size and brightness from a regular Full Moon is usually not discernable to the naked eye.

In essence, a Supermoon is considered ‘super’ when a Full Moon peaks near or at the lunar perigee – the Moon’s closest distance from Earth.

NASA outline what makes a supermoon 'super'

According to Dr Daniel Brown, an Associate Professor at Nottingham Trent University, the term Supermoon was not even coined by an astronomer, but rather by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1976.

The expert told “Loosely it means, a Full (or New) Moon that happens when the Moon is quite close to Earth in its orbit around us.

“But how close does it need to be for it to be called Supermoon?

“That isn’t really clear and defined very differently by different people.”

According to the expert, the Moon Full Moon will occur while the lunar orb is about 224,663 miles (361,561km) from our planet.

For comparison, the Moon can come as close to Earth as 221,829 miles (357,000km).

Dr Brown said: “That makes this month’s Supermoon a little bit smaller than last month’s Supermoon, or the Supermoon the month before that, and close to the size of the Supermoon we had two months ago.”

By some counts, there are only four Supermoons in a year, while other astronomers might argue there are as many as eight.

How to see the Supermoon on June 24?

Whether or not the Supermoon will appear bigger and brighter this Thursday, you still don’t want to miss out on the lunar spectacle.

Full Moons and Supermoons are always a timely reminder of the journey our planet – and by extension, the Moon – takes around the Sun.

On Thursday evening, keep your eyes peeled on the southeastern horizon after 9pm BST.

Click here to see what time the Moon will rise for your specific location.

You can also watch the Supermoon live online, courtesy of the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy.

The Virtual Telescope will host a free broadcast on YouTube, tracking the Strawberry Supermoon as it travels over the picturesque skyline of Rome.

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