2021 will see back-to-back supermoons!
A full moon always gets some people talking. But a supermoon, well, they tend to attract a whole lot more attention and for good reason too – they’re super-freaking amazing to see and this year, we get two!
A supermoon, or rather a full moon that coincides with the moon’s closest orbital point (called the perigee) to Earth, is actually 30 percent brighter in the night sky and 14 percent larger than when the moon is at its apogee—the furthest point from Earth.
In other words, the moon looks wow and it makes for some great shots, even for amateur photographers. The first of 2021’s supermoons, which are normally spaced fourteen months apart, will take place on 26 April while the second will occur on 26 May.
However, this second supermoon will actually be overshadowed by an even bigger astronomical event, a total lunar eclipse, and this second supermoon will appear blood-red in the sky as it’s obscured by the Earth’s shadow.
This astronomical event will reach its peak at 4:31am BST on April 27, according to Royal Museums Greenwich, and will appear full for around two to three nights afterwards.
For the best views of the two supermoons, and views of the stars on the regular, it’s always recommended to head to places with as little light pollution as possible. If you’re living in the city, finding dark skies can be a little difficult. But to help you on your mission, use this light pollution map to guide your way.
Although the term supermoon has been around for forty-odd years, not everyone is happy with the name. The world’s most famous astrologer, Neil deGrasse Tyson who is currently the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, has said that there the very concept of a supermoon is an ”embarrassment to everything else we call super: Supernova, Supercollider, Superman, Super Mario Bros.”
This is presumably because there is no scientific evidence that supermoons actually influence or have had effects on the weather, volcanoes and earthquakes as some people believe they have. Even still, we think they’re fascinating.