Remote grey nomads set for ‘supermoon’ sensation

Published: November 10, 2016
Supermoon at Bondi Beach

Grey nomads travelling in remote areas – especially those near an east-facing beach or mountains – will be among the best placed in the world to enjoy an amazing natural event next Monday night/Tuesday morning.

That’s when the ultimate ‘supermoon’ occurs. NASA says it will be extra special because it will be “the closest full moon to date in the 21st century”.  The last time it was this close was in 1948 and it won’t put on such a bright display until 2034.

The supermoon isn’t actually any bigger than a regular moon but, because of its elliptical orbit, it will be about 48,280 km (30,000 miles) closer to Earth than it usually is. This closest point of orbit is called the perigee.

Supermoons can be as much as 14% bigger and 30% brighter than a full moon at its furthest orbital point. However, choosing the right location to witness the phenomenon is crucial … otherwise travellers may end up seeing something that looks pretty much the same as a regular full moon.

If people catch the supermoon when it is close to the horizon, or rising behind some buildings or mountains for perspective, they will experience a ‘moon illusion’.

“When the moon is near the horizon, it can look unnaturally large when viewed through trees, buildings, or other foreground objects,” says NASA. “The effect is an optical illusion, but that fact doesn’t take away from the experience.”

According to the Science Alert website, these are among the best places to watch:

·         An east-facing beach
·         Somewhere with views of a city
·         Near the mountains
·         Close to an iconic structure
·         Somewhere dark

To maximise the experience, grey nomads are advised to avoid artificial light as much as possible, and to give their eyes at least 20 minutes to adjust to the dark.

While the supermoon will be visible for hours on the evening of November 14, in Australia it will hit its full phase at 12:52am AEST on November 15.

Astronomy enthusiasts have been organising events across the country to watch the rare event, including one in Sydney’s Bronte Beach where 35,000 social media users have promised to come.

·         Where will you be to watch the ‘supermoon’? Will you be having a supermoon party with other travellers? Will you have your camera ready? Comment below.

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