If you have missed the supermoon of last year because of any reason then be ready again for witnessing the biggest moon of the year on the night of 2nd January, 2018. The sky is again ready to welcome you in the New Year with its beautiful show of Supermoon, giving a perfect treat to the stargazers.
The first supermoon of the year is actually the 2nd supermoon in the series of three supermoons within 2 months. The first supermoon was on 3rd December 2017, the second one is on January 2nd, 2018 and the third supermoon will occur on January 31st, 2018.
Supermoon is not an official astronomical term. It was first coined by an astrologer, Richard Nolle, in 1979. He defined it as ‘a New or a Full Moon that occurs when the Moon is at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in its orbit’.
So, a Full Moon that occurs when the center of the Moon is less than 360,000 kilometers i.e. within 90% of its closest approach to Earth in its elliptical orbit from the center of Earth, then it is called as Supermoon.
The technical term for a Supermoon is perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system. In astronomy, the term syzygy refers to the straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies. Another name is perigee Full Moon.
The best time to enjoy a Super Full Moon is just after moonrise, when the Moon is close to the horizon. Just before moonset is also a good time. When the Full Moon is low, it looks bigger and brighter than when it’s higher up in the sky.
This full moon i.e. the first full moon of the year was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Wolf Moon because this was the time of year when hungry wolf packs howled outside their camps. This moon has also been known as the Old Moon and the Moon after Yule.
Of the 13 full moons and 14 lunar perigees occurring in 2018, this full moon is the one that most closely aligns with lunar perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth in its monthly orbit.
The distance when the moon will be at closest point i.e. at lunar perigee will be 3,56,565 kilometers but the distance of full moon will be little more that is 3,56,846 kilometers from the Earth, making it as the biggest supermoon of the year and as it is so close to the Earth it will appear 16% brighter than an average full moon.
So enjoy your new year and observe the wolf moon in its biggest size on 2nd day of the year…….
Yogesh Kumar Joshi,