Tonight's your last chance to see a supermoon in 2021.
Devra/CC BY 2.0/Flickr Creative Commons
If you’ve had some trouble seeing the last two supermoons over Arizona, you’re not alone. Clouds and overcast skies have obscured views of the full moons in April and May in the Valley and other parts of the state, leaving some local skywatchers a little frustrated.
You’ve got one last chance in 2021 to see a supermoon, a phenomenon where it appears larger and brighter than normal, and it happens tonight. Known as the “strawberry supermoon,” it’s also adorably named to boot.
If you can tear yourselves away from tonight’s Phoenix Suns game for a few minutes, it makes for an awe-inspiring distraction.
Like with most nicknames for full moons or supermoons, it comes from agriculture and the particular time of year they’re visible. In this case, the “strawberry” moniker relates to how the namesake fruit is harvested this time of year, according to the Farmer's Almanac.
When Does the Supermoon Take Place?
In the early evening, basically. According to astronomy and skywatching websites, the moon begins to rise at 8:07 p.m. on Thursday night. It will reach peak illumination several hours earlier around 11:39 a.m. but will be noticeably visible in the evening.
Where Should You Look?
Towards the eastern/southeastern skies. It will be approximately 30 degrees above the horizon, which puts it well above the horizon and most buildings or trees that might be blocking your view.
What Will Viewing Conditions Be Like?
The current forecast calls for completely clear skies on Thursday night with no cloud cover.
Do You Need a Telescope or Binoculars?
Nope, since the moon should be quite prominent and brighter than normal. Of course, you can always use your binoculars or telescope to get a better view of some of the moon’s features.
What Causes a Supermoon?
The phenomenon occurs several times each year when a full moon is in 90 percent or more of its perigee, or closest approach to Earth. Supermoons typically occur during the spring months from March to June each year.
Why Does the Moon Look Bigger Sometimes?
That’s the so-called “moon illusion” at work and involves your brain playing tricks on you.
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