A supermoon will light up the night’s sky Monday evening. (Unsplash)

Supermoon to light up Monday night’s sky

Moon about 20,000 kilometres closer than average distance

It’s bright, it’s beautiful, and it’s about 20,000 kilometres closer to Earth than normal.

The supermoon isn’t the only spectacle lighting up the night’s sky Monday night when the orbits of both Venus and the moon make them appear brighter and bolder than most other nights.

A supermoon occurs when the moon is closer to Earth in its ongoing orbit, explains University of Victoria astronomer Karun Thanjavur.

“The supermoon is a full moon like any other,” he said. “The only other thing is that the moon is at its closest distance to the earth.”

READ ALSO: ‘It’s the sky putting on a show:’ Perseid meteor shower returns

On average, the moon is about 380,000 km from Earth, but as Thanjavur explains, the moon doesn’t orbit in a perfect circle, and because of that can fluctuate 20,000 kilometres or so.

“It’s like an elliptical,” he said, adding that another supermoon is coming in April.

That proximity means a brighter, more detailed moon for those viewing it from Earth.

“The full moon, to begin with, is quite bright,” Thanjavur said. “The skies are nice and clear these days [and] the air is nice and stable.

“To have such a nice, bright full moon in March makes it very spectacular.”

Thanjavur said special equipment isn’t necessary to take in the full effect.

“All the craters and the darker patches – those are all very nice and clear,” he said. “It is visually very appealing to see this big beautiful orb in the sky.”

If you prefer to take in the moon’s brilliance from water instead of land, South Island SUP is hosting a Full Moon Paddle at Willows Beach. The guided paddle includes lessons on the moon and sun and their effects on tides, as well as safe night paddling. The paddle costs $20 for those without boards and is free for those with equipment. The paddle starts at 6:45 p.m.

But the supermoon isn’t the only phenomenon on display. Look west towards the setting sun and catch a glimpse of Venus, which is furthest away from the sun in its orbit – giving the human eye a chance to witness its shimmering brilliance.

READ ALSO: Skygazers spot mysterious flaming object during Sunday’s lunar eclipse

“Venus goes around the sun, sometimes it lines up and other times it appears,” Thanjavur said. “Right now, it is at its best because its farthest.”

Venus, commonly called ‘the evening star,’ can be viewed with a telescope, revealing its shadowy or sun-filled phases, but it isn’t hard to find with the naked eye either.

“It’s the brightest object in the sky,” Thanjavur said. “You can’t mistake such a bright object.”



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Oak Bay Police Chief Const. Andy Brinton passes the torch this summer

Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties to take over position in September

Victoria Police see new trends in calls due to COVID-19

Police link jump in domestic, mental health calls to pandemic

VIDEO: Musician stays physically distant in courtyard show for Langford retirees

Bob Nelson found a way to continue to play for retirement community residents

COVID-19: Health care workers seek alternative housing options to prevent families from getting sick

Volunteers, residents and businesses step up to provide frontline workers with alternative housing

BC Parks Foundation organizes virtual picnic for the province

Join a B.C.-wide picnic online Saturday, March 28

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

World update, 9:30 p.m. March 27: Positive news in Korea as U.S. hits 100,000 cases

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country in the world

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach youngster gets car parade for his sixth birthday

Friends get creative after party cancelled due to ongoing pandemic

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

Nanaimo RCMP ask for help locating 17-year-old girl believed to be with 36-year-old man

Mary Cyprich, missing since Thurday, might be in company of Force Forsythe

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Most Read