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Bigger, brighter Supermoon graces the night sky

Last Updated: Sunday, May 6, 2012 - 23:53

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Star gazers across the country were in for a cosmic show Sunday night as the celestial neighbour moon glowed a lot bigger and brighter than it will be on any other night in 2012.

The phenomenon, called supermoon, this year coincides with `Buddha Purnima`.

On May 6 at 9.05 pm IST, the distance between the Earth and the Moon was 3,56,955 km, the closest this year, while the angular size of the Moon was 0.5515 degrees.

“It is very interesting to note that on May 6, the moon will set at western horizon a few minutes before sunrise and then it will rise again on the same evening about an hour after the sunset”, Arvind Paranjpye, Director of Mumbai-based Nehru Planetarium, said.

This occurs because the moon’s orbit is not perfectly circular.

This full Moon was nearly 16 percent brighter than average. Conversely, later this year on November 28, the full moon will coincide with apogee, the moon’s farthest approach, offering an especially small and dim full moon.

Though the rare appearance of this month’s full moon may be surprising to some, there’s no reason for alarm, scientists cautioned.

The slight distance variation is not enough to cause any earthquakes or extreme tidal effects, experts asserted.

However, the normal tides around the world will be mostly high and low. At perigee, the moon will exert about 42 percent more tidal force than it will during its next apogee two weeks later.

The last supermoon appeared in March 2011.

With agency inputs

First Published: Sunday, May 6, 2012 - 08:55
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