Supermoon 2014: what is it and how can I see it?
Everything you need to know ahead about the second supermoon of 2014
The moon will appear particularly large and bright this week, in what is the second of three 'supermoon' events this summer. After last night's full moon, the moon will be waning this week but will remain impressive. Skywatchers will have one more opportunity to witness the phenomenon in September.
What is a supermoon?
Supermoon events cause the moon to appear at its largest and brightest. They occur when the full moon coincides with the satellite reaching the closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit – known as the perigee. When in perigee, the moon is just 360,000km away from us, and around 50,000km closer than when it is at its apogee, the furthest it gets from earth.
Where did the name come from?
Astrologer Richard Nolle coined the term, back in 1979. As Nasa scientist James Garvin explains in International Business Times: "It is called a supermoon because this is a very noticeable alignment that, at first glance, would seem to have an effect. The 'super' in supermoon is really just the appearance of being closer."
How often do they happen?
Unlike other celestial events, supermoons are actually relatively common. They generally happen around once a year, though there are three due in fairly swift succession this summer.
When is the next supermoon?
The third supermoon of the summer will take place on 9 September, when the moon will be 358,387km away, according to The Independent. That's not quite as close as it was last night, when it was 356,896km away at its closest point.
What is the best way to view supermoons?
Lunar buffs at Space.com recommend viewing the supermoon just after it rises or before it sets, when it is close to the horizon. If you watch as it dips behind buildings or trees, an optical illusion is produced, which makes the moon seem even larger than it really is.
Will these supermoons have any impact on earth?
Full moons generally cause spring tides, and the next three supermoons will cause perigean spring tides, where tides will be at most a matter of inches higher than normal. Scientists say it is unlikely that the coming tides will cause any flooding, unless they coincide with a particularly strong weather system.