17 April 2019, Bavaria, Marktoberdorf: The waxing moon stands behind a flowering ornamental cherry. … [+]
picture alliance via Getty Images
Are you ready for just one more supermoon in 2020?
This Thursday sees the rise of the “Super Flower Moon,” the fourth and final so-called supermoon of the year.
Exactly how special is the “Super Flower Moon?” Given that there have been three overly large full moons in a row so far in 2020, you could be forgiven for thinking that the “Super Flower Moon” is not particularly special.
All full moons are special, but only if you get your timing exactly right.
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – APRIL 07, 2020: A super moon, also called full pink moon, rises above … [+]
Barcroft Media via Getty Images
The trick with any full moon—and particularly a supermoon—is to be in the right place at the right time.
So here’s everything you need to know about when and how to get a great view of the final supermoon of the year.
What is a supermoon?
A supermoon, also known as a perigee full moon by astronomers, is a colloquial—even astrological—term for a full Moon when it’s at its closest point to Earth in its orbit. Although it’s only a slight effect, it may appear bigger and brighter in the sky.
What time is the full moon?
This month, the Moon will enter its full phase—entirely lit-up by the Sun as seen from Earth—at 10:45 Universal Time on Thursday, May 7, 2020. You can convert that to you local time, but it may be during the day. That doesn’t matter. In fact, it’s ideal since it means you can watch a 99%-lit full moon at both moonset on the morning of May 7, and at moonrise later that same day.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – APRIL 07: The supermoon rises behind clouds above an apartment block on April … [+]
Best time to look at the supermoon
The best time to see any full Moon, and particularly a supermoon, is when it’s close to the horizon. Firstly, your brain make the Moon seem bigger because it’s rising between buildings/trees/mountains/landmarks. Secondly, you’ll be looking at the Moon through the thickest part of Earth’s atmosphere, so rather than the bright, white orb it appears as when it’s high in the sky, it will appear to be a deep orange color (when rising or setting) and an entrancing pale yellow color (when just above the horizon). Just the Sun a sunset.
How to look at the supermoon
You really don’t need anything apart from good timing and a reasonably high observing location (a second-floor window is fine) to see the rise of the “Super Flower Moon.” Here’s how to get organised:
- Find out the exact times of moonset and moonrise on May 7, 2020 where you are
- Look west for a setting full Moon around the time of sunrise
- Look east for a rising full Moon around the time of sunset
EDIRNE, TURKEY – APRIL 08: A stork is seen on a nest as the Super Pink Moon at the background in … [+]
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Why you need patience to see the ‘Super Flower Moon’
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that the specific time the Moon appears on your horizon will be a little bit later than apps and charts will tell you. After all, the Moon has to rise above anything on the horizon, and any buildings blocking your view, before you will see it. So get in position just after the Moon is due to rise in your location, and stay there for at least 15 minutes. You will see it, if the skies are clear. The only way of definitely not seeing the “Super Flower Moon” is to run out of patience too early and step away from the window or go back indoors.
When is the next supermoon?
The next time the moon comes closest to Earth while in its full phase is on April 27, 2021 to create a “Super Pink Moon”.
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.