A supermoon will light up the night’s sky Monday evening. (Unsplash)

March supermoon to light up the skies over B.C. tonight

Moon about 20,000 kilometres closer than average distance

It’s bright, it’s beautiful, and it’s about 20,000 kilometres closer to Earth than normal.

The supermoon isn’t the only spectacle lighting up the night’s sky Monday night when the orbits of both Venus and the moon make them appear brighter and bolder than most other nights.

A supermoon occurs when the moon is closer to Earth in its ongoing orbit, explains University of Victoria astronomer Karun Thanjavur.

“The supermoon is a full moon like any other,” he said. “The only other thing is that the moon is at its closest distance to the earth.”

READ ALSO: ‘It’s the sky putting on a show:’ Perseid meteor shower returns

On average, the moon is about 380,000 km from Earth, but as Thanjavur explains, the moon doesn’t orbit in a perfect circle, and because of that can fluctuate 20,000 kilometres or so.

“It’s like an elliptical,” he said, adding that another supermoon is coming in April.

That proximity means a brighter, more detailed moon for those viewing it from Earth.

“The full moon, to begin with, is quite bright,” Thanjavur said. “The skies are nice and clear these days [and] the air is nice and stable.

“To have such a nice, bright full moon in March makes it very spectacular.”

Thanjavur said special equipment isn’t necessary to take in the full effect.

“All the craters and the darker patches – those are all very nice and clear,” he said. “It is visually very appealing to see this big beautiful orb in the sky.”

But the supermoon isn’t the only phenomenon on display. Look west towards the setting sun and catch a glimpse of Venus, which is furthest away from the sun in its orbit – giving the human eye a chance to witness its shimmering brilliance.

READ ALSO: Skygazers spot mysterious flaming object during Sunday’s lunar eclipse

“Venus goes around the sun, sometimes it lines up and other times it appears,” Thanjavur said. “Right now, it is at its best because its farthest.”

Venus, commonly called ‘the evening star,’ can be viewed with a telescope, revealing its shadowy or sun-filled phases, but it isn’t hard to find with the naked eye either.

“It’s the brightest object in the sky,” Thanjavur said. “You can’t mistake such a bright object.”



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

moon

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Sunflower Highway, art initiative to connect Fraser Valley, Thompson-Nicola and Okanagan

Sunflowers made out of reclaimed materials will be installed on public art trails

Residents warned to stay away from flooded Cache Creek park

Water might look shallow, but is several feet deep in places

Ashcroft receives grants to get new hot tub and lift station

‘The hot tub is a major benefit for many residents’

Cache Creek gets funding for improvements on Old Cariboo Road

Work will help to mitigate damage from water and debris flows during flooding

Horgan says B.C. restart making gains as more people come out of their homes

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

RCMP confirm homicide investigation underway near Quesnel

Police releasing few details four days after homicide occurred Monday, July 6

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Amber Alert continues for missing Quebec girls, 6 and 11, and their father

Police issued the alert for Norah Carpentier, 11, and Romy Carpentier, 6, from Levis, Que.

Most Read