Astronomical treats

Earlier last month, I was excited about the news of the “Super” moon that could be observed from Earth at the distance of 357, 169km away, where the moon will be 14% bigger and 30% brighter than usual.

Disappointment came when I read further and had THOUGHT that the phenomenon, also known as the “perigee moon”, could not be observed from Singapore as we were not at the perigee side of the moon’s orbit, i.e. where the moon orbits along its elliptical path to the distance nearest to Earth. The Moon follows an elliptical path around Earth with one side, or perigee, about 31,000 miles closer than the other, or apogee.

I was under the impression that the significant moment would take place only at 11.35pm Eastern Daylight Time of 5 May (11.35am Singapore Time on 6 May) and that by the time the moon orbited to Singapore’s skyline, it would not be the “Super” moon. It was only after the event that I realised that I was only half correct, after consulting our in-house expert (Read our in-house expert’s blog entry here). I learnt that a time difference of plus-or-minus 12 hours, makes very little difference to the appearance of the Moon, unless you have precise measuring equipment. So even in Singapore on the evenings of 5 and 6 May, the Moon would have still appeared as full and slightly larger than normal. Although technically Singaporeans did not see a perfect “Super” Moon, it was near-perfect. A sense of regret then ensued, because I abandoned my plan to witness this “Super” moon phenomenon due to my own misunderstanding.

How about you? Did you witness the “Super” moon, i.e. the “perigee moon”? If you were like me, the good news is that the same phenomenon will take place again next year. So, keep a lookout.

Meanwhile, don’t miss the Transit of Venus that will occur on 6 Jun morning because if you miss this one, the next one would take place in Dec 2117.

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