The last supermoon of the year will take place on October 26, and professional and amateur astronomers are eagerly anticipating the exciting phenomenon.
The term “supermoon” was actually coined in 1979, by astrologer Richard Nolle, in order to describe an event when a full moon or a new moon appears at its perigee (the closest distance to Earth in its monthly elliptical orbit).
The previous time this has occurred was on September 27, and that occasion actually coincided with a total lunar eclipse also, resulting in an exceptionally rare “blood moon”.
On that night, the moon appeared around 30% brighter and 14% larger than usual, give the fact that it was approximately 17,000 miles closer to Earth than its average distance, which is of about 238,800 miles.
That type of celestial spectacle was even more exceptional, given the fact that the last time it had happened simultaneously with a total lunar eclipse was in 1982, and such a coincidence will only be repeated in October 8, 2033.
While the phenomenon taking place on October 26, starting from 12:05 UTC into the morning of October 27, may not be as elusive, it still remains special, since it will take almost a year until sky gazers can admire it again.
It will be the sixth time in 2015 that a supermoon will be visible in the night sky: for three months in a row, on January 20, February 18 and March 20, astronomers could observe new supermoons (occurring when a new moon happened at perigee).
However, those weren’t as spectacular as the full supermoons which were visible on August 29 and September 28, because the moon was at the beginning of its cycle and didn’t appear as bright and large.
October 26 will also be the third time in a row that this type of sky show can be enjoyed on a Tuesday night.
Some Native American tribes actually call the upcoming event “Full Munter’s Moon”, which precedes “Harvest Moon” and is seen as an ideal time to hunt game animals at its fattest or fullest, in preparation for winter.
In fact, this date is actually twice as important for astronomers, because just before sunrise there will also be a conjunction between Venus and Jupiter, and the planets will be visible within 1 degree of each other.
Another unmissable astronomic event will occur on October 28, when Mars, Venus and Jupiter will appear to form a close triangle in the early morning sky, which will be easily observable with the naked eye.
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