What is a Supermoon and what time can I see it?

3 July 2023, 22:36

A supermoon occurs when the moon's orbit is closest (perigee) to Earth at the same time it is full, according to NASA
A supermoon occurs when the moon's orbit is closest (perigee) to Earth at the same time it is full, according to NASA. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

If you managed to catch a glimpse of the moon last night, you probably would have noticed that it was a different colour.

This was a supermoon, a normal part of the lunar cycle that makes the moon look bigger and brighter because it is at its closest point to the earth.

Pictures flooded in from across the world, including London and LA, with the sky brightened up by the orange glow coming from the moon.

They usually take place a couple of times a year, with more expected in August and September.

What causes a supermoon?

The supermoon was seen from Los Angeles, USA, last night
The supermoon was seen from Los Angeles, USA, last night. Picture: Getty

According to NASA, a supermoon occurs when the Moon's orbit is closest to the Earth, while the Moon is full.

This is known as a perigee, which has an average distance of around 226,000 miles (363,300 kilometers) from the Earth.

This makes the moon look bigger and brighter than your standard full moon.

Read More: Thousands gather to celebrate summer solstice at Stonehenge as UK to get 16 hours of sunlight

Read More: Met Office issues stark warning over climate change after recording hottest June ever

What time can I see the supermoon?

The Full Buck supermoon rises over Seaton Sluice in Northumberland
The Full Buck supermoon rises over Seaton Sluice in Northumberland. Picture: Alamy

The best time to see the super moon tonight was 10.14pm.

Don't worry if you miss it, there'll be plenty of other opportunities to see it later on in the week.

Because the super moon appearances are happening in July, too, it's officially known as a Buck supermoon.

Other names include January's Wolf moon and February's Snow moon.

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