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Watch out for the supermoon on Monday | The National


SHARJAH // Keen stargazers will have the chance to witness a ­rare supermoon on Monday.

The so-called supermoon occurs when a full moon or new moon coincides with the Moon’s closest approach to the Earth on its orbit, making it look very large in the sky.

That in itself is not a rare ­occurrence, with four to six ­supermoons a year, but tomorrow will be extra special as the Moon will be the closest it has been to the Earth since 1948, according to Sharjah Centre for Astronomy and Space Sciences.

“This Monday, the full moon will be closest to the Earth at 5.52pm, it’s distance will be 356,500 kilometres, which makes the Moon appear 14 per cent bigger, and 30 per cent brighter,” said Ibrahim Al Jarwan, assistant director of the centre.

Residents will be able to view the supermoon from across the country as the drop in temperatures and better weather ­conditions mean there will ­ be little cloud to obstruct views. “You can watch this event from any place, using a telescope or the naked eye, however, if you go out of the city, you will be presented with a marvellous view of this spectacular event,” said Mr Al Jarwan.

The word “supermoon” was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979.

The effects of the astronomical phenomena increases the gravitational pull of the Moon by 19 per cent, said Mr Al Jarwan.

“It affects liquids and gases, which manifests in an increase in tectonic plate movement, and a slight increase in seismic activity,” he said.

Seas tend to have higher waves than usual but not to the extent they result in disaster, he said.

“Several rumours have been said about the supermoons in relation to natural disasters happening and psychic phenomenons. However, studies concluded that these rumours were false, and unrelated to the astronomical event,” said Mr Al Jarwan.

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, it will be November 25, 2043, before the Moon gets as close to the Earth again as it will tomorrow night.

tzriqat@thenational.ae

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