The Super Flower Moon Will Light Up The Night Sky For Three Days

The Super Flower Moon Will Light Up The Night Sky For Three Days

The next supermoon will only be in April 2021.

Source: Getty Images/ mkotera555

As far as astronomical events are considered, this year has been spectacular. We've already witnessed three supermoons, but on May 7, the world is gearing up to witness the last supermoon of 2020. On Thursday morning, the supermoon will reach its peak at 6:45 a.m. EDT, reports NASA.  However, there's no need to worry about missing this one, because the last supermoon of the year will appear for three whole days starting from Tuesday evening to Friday morning. This full moon is known as the ‘Super Flower Moon’ since it's named on the arrival of spring flowers.



The Super Flower Moon is also referred to as the Corn Planting Moon, Milk Moon, and the Vesak Festival Moon. According to Indiatimes, it is called the Vesak Festival Moon as it coincides with Vesak, commonly known as Buddha Purnima - a holiday celebrated by Buddhists throughout Asia.  It commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha.  While the Vesak date varies every year,  it is made all the more special as it falls close to the Full Moon.  Have you ever wondered why the moon is known as the Supermoon during such celestial events? The term "supermoon" was coined by the astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979. 



NASA reports that "it refers to either a new or full moon that transpires within 90% of perigee, its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit." Explaining further, it states that in a year "there can be three or four full supermoons in a row and three or four new supermoons in a row." These four full moons from February to May in 2020 adhere to this 90% threshold. “It's kind of a thorn in the side of a lot of astronomers in the sense that the definition of a 'supermoon' was not created by an astronomer, but by an astrologer,” said Dr. Jackie Faherty, Senior Scientist, and Senior Education Manager jointly in the Department of Astrophysics and the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History in New York with regard to its defintion.

"The very loose definition — and you’ll see this debated online — is that the moon is in an elliptical orbit around the Earth," she said. "Its orbit is not a perfect circle, so sometimes it's a little bit closer and sometimes it's a little bit further away," reports Travel & Leisure.  "An astronomer would call a supermoon a 'perigee syzygy' moon — a full moon at its closest possible distance to Earth — but people love the word 'super,' so we go with it!" said Faherty. "I just like the idea of anything that gets people to go outside and look up at the full moon." To witness it in all it's glory, there are two specific times to look at the Super Flower Moon: moonrise and moonset.   



"When the moon is very low on your horizon, you get two beautiful effects that are really what people are looking for," said Faherty. "The first is gorgeous colors — you can see the moon looking pinkish or even a little bit orangish and yellowish when it's close to the horizon. The second is an optical illusion. When the moon is particularly close to the horizon, our brains translate that into thinking the moon looks much bigger than it actually is," said Faherty. "All you have to do is locate where the sun is setting and turn around and look the other way to catch the moonrise — it’s always just absolutely stunning."


So don't miss out on this supermoon, as the next one will only appear in 2021.

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