Biggest supermoon of the year is here

Jo Lloyd
February 18, 2019

Skywatchers will get a special treat Tuesday when the biggest, brightest supermoon of 2019 lights up the night sky.

It was known as the Snow Moon because of the heavy snows that fall in this season (NOAA long-term monthly averages for the Washington, DC area show January and February almost tied as the snowiest months of the year).

In other parts of the world, the Full Moon will also peak at a different time, so check your local lunar calendar before you head out to see the Supermoon.

It is the second supermoon of the year and will be the biggest and brightest.

Astrologer Richard Nolle defined the term back in 1979 as a "new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit".

As the moon is significantly larger than the smallest full moon in the year, it is still considered a supermoon event, said the spokesperson.

During such an event the moon looks to be about 14% bigger and about 30% brighter compared with when it's at the farthest point in its elliptical orbit around Earth, known as apogee.

In the United Kingdom, the moon will be closest to earth at 9.06am, but at that time you probably won't be able to see it as the sun will be up.

We won't be able to see a larger moon until December 2026, so make sure you don't miss it.

On February 19, the moon will be 221,734 miles from Earth, as per EarthSky.

The next supermoon will take place on March 21, just four hours after the March equinox-when day and night are the same length, with days in the northern Hemisphere getting longer thereafter.

Though the moon is officially fullest on Tuesday morning, it'll still be visible from Sunday to Tuesday evening. It is expected to be the brightest moon of its kind until 2026. Due to an optical illusion, the moon appears larger to us the closer it is to the horizon.

Although this moon is closer to earth than the last, it will not be as colorful as the "Super Blood Wolf Moon" eclipse that wowed the skies in January.

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