The moon is our planets only NATURAL satellite which majestically, although monotonously orbits the earth. It is about 2,159 miles or close to 3,475 kilometres in diameter and apart from the sun is the brightest object in our sky. The moon is vitally important to our planet as its gravitational pull balances our planet on its axis and provides climate stability.
Whenever we venture into the darkness on a cloudless night the first thing that becomes apparent is the beauty of the moon, with eight different phases throughout the year we are guaranteed a fresh visual odyssey every time we look up. But the best is yet to come, on the 29th August 2015 our humble moon, that impressive but largely ignored glowing orb transforms into a super moon.
The Super moon
Occurs when the phase of the moon is at its fullest on its closest approach to earth. The moon orbits the earth in an elliptical orbit, (or an egg shape if you prefer) and when the moon is at the top of the egg shape it reaches the point of its nearest approach to the Earth. This moment is called Perigee and when it's at the furthest point away it is called apogee. When this Perigee transpires at the same moment as a full moon or new moon then the moon becomes known as a Super moon/Super Full Moon/Super New Moon/Perigee Moon.
The range of the moon has to be at perigee as close as 360,000 kilometres or about 223,695 miles to qualify as a Super moon, and if you want to get technical the correct term for Super moon is "Perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun System".
On the 29 August 2015 the moon will be showcased as a Super moon in all its splendour as it is highlighted and completely illuminated for all to see. Those of us with even a basic telescope; either a refracting or a reflecting telescope, should get a clear view of every stellar aspect of this celestial event. This Super moon will mark the first of a trio of Super moon appearances for 2015.
Now all of this sounds very scientific and technical. In laymen's terms the Super moon simply means because the moon is at its closest point to the earth it will be approximately 14 percent larger and around 30 percent brighter, further showcasing every nook and cranny visible on the surface of the Moon. The best time to view this moon is when it hangs low over the horizon in the early evening, it is in this position that the moon appears to be unnaturally large with unfathomable brightness.
So, If you haven't taken the time to look up and appreciate the night sky as yet, then this might be a good time to start, you will be able to see this moon with the naked eye but to view a Super moon through a telescope is a sight to behold. So if you have a telescope dust it off, if you don't possess a telescope now is a great time to grab one.