The pink supermoon rises over the Shuswap on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. (File photo)

The pink supermoon rises over the Shuswap on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. (File photo)

Column: Looking forward to May supermoon, June solar eclipse

Great Outdoors by James Murray

  • Apr. 28, 2021 10:00 a.m.

By James Murray

Contributor

All I could do was gaze at it in absolute amazement.

For there, right in front of me, hanging in the night sky, was the largest full moon I’ve seen in years.

It truly did live up to its name – a super moon. As the night sky grew darker the moon seemed to take on a slight pinkish cast.

According to Wikipedia, a supermoon is said to occur when the moon is within 90 per cent of perigree or its closest approach to planet Earth in orbit. All I know is that the other night’s super moon lit up the night sky like a huge lantern.

April 26th’s full moon is also referred to as a full pink moon. In earlier times, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, names were given to each full moon of the year to help track the seasons. Normally, there are 12 full moons in a year because one occurs each month. However, 2021 will have two full moons, the one occurring on the 26th and another on May 26th. May’s full moon will be of particular interest for two reasons. It will be the closest supermoon of the year, sitting at a distance of 222,116.6 miles from Earth, about 100 miles closer than April’s supermoon. It will also coincide with a total lunar eclipse. It will also take on a reddish hue during the eclipse’s maximum which is referred to as a blood moon. There will be a solar eclipse on June 10th.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth and moon are in a straight line or very close to that position and the moon either fully or partially penetrates into the shadow of the Earth. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon lines up between the sun and the Earth so that the moon either partially or completely obscures the sun. While a lunar eclipse occurs independent of the position of the observer, a solar eclipse occurs only in particular areas of the Earth.

Although the term supermoon has become a part of astronomical jargon in recent years, it is not an official astronomical term. In fact, it didn’t even exist until astrologer Richard Nolle coined the phrase in 1979. Nolle defined a supermoon as “a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90 per cent of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.”

Since a supermoon full moon is closer to Earth than a normal full moon, it does appear larger—about seven per cent larger, technically speaking. However, unless one were somehow able to compare a normal full moon and a supermoon side by side in the sky, it would be nearly impossible to perceive that difference.

Read more: Pink supermoon lights up night sky in North Okanagan-Shuswap

Read more:Did you see the halo moon last night?

The simplest and easiest way of seeing any full moon is to watch as it is in the process of rising or setting. Looking at the moon when it is close to the horizon makes it appear larger, due to a phenomenon called the moon illusion, which causes our mind to exaggerate the size of objects near the skyline.

All I know for sure is that come May 26th, I will be standing outside looking up at the moon and on June 10, I will be watching the eclipse. Remember to never look at the sun directly. Even during an eclipse the sun rays can cause permanent eye damage.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (USA), “the only safe way to look directly at the sun is through special-purpose solar filters. These special filters are used in eclipse glasses and hand-held solar viewers. Eclipse glasses are available for purchase at big-box stores, electronics supply outlets and online. Look for glasses that carry this certification insignia: ISO 12312-2.”

Let’s just hope there are clear skies for both events.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Outdoors

Just Posted

The initial Genesis Community in 1978. (Norbert Maertens photo)
Hidden North Okanagan-Shuswap valley home to a European intentional community

Community members helped resurrect Cherryville’s status as ‘Hammock capital of Canada.’

Rachel Spanier opened her new business, Rikki Lou Who’s Gift Emporium at the corner of Alexander Street and Lakeshore Drive on May 11. Space at the rear of the store is dedicated to her other business, Head Gamez Hair & Company. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Lookie-loos welcome at new downtown Salmon Arm business

Rachel Spanier combines gift emporium and Head Gamez salon at one location

A thief or thieves broke into a kitchen at the grandstands at the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds recently, destroying a door apparently with the intention of stealing copper. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Man found sleeping amidst damage on Salmon Arm fairgrounds

Agricultural association dismayed by vandalism, thefts in kitchen, dance studio

Quinn, left, and Adrian Van de Mosselaer are going through UBCO’s nursing program together after Quinn encouraged his brother to go back to school. (UBC Okanagan/Contributed)
UBC Okanagan student transitions from professional hockey to nursing

Adrian Van de Mosselaer credits his younger brother for the push to get him back to learning

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

File photo of osprey. Black Press Media
VIDEO: Livestream of osprey birds and their babies in Kelowna

FortisBC sets up a nest with livestream camera in Kelowna for Ospreys

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Tinder, an online dating application that allows users to anonymously swipe to like or dislike other’s profiles. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. man granted paternity test to see if Tinder match-up led to a ‘beautiful baby’

The plaintiff is seeking contact with the married woman’s infant who he believes is his child

Susan Larsen, who still lives on her own, celebrates her 100th birthday on May 16, 2021. (Contributed)
99-year-old Vernon woman eagerly awaiting second COVID-19 vaccine

Susan Larsen celebrates her 100th birthday May 16

Nurse Tami Arnold prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine. (Kareem Elgazzar/AP)
B.C. adults 30+ now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Health officials made the announcement Wednesday afternoon

Richard Green writes poetry under the nom de plume Rick the Poet Warrior. Homeless, Green sometimes spends his summers in Revelstoke but winters in Victoria, travelling to Ontario to visit his sister whenever he can. (Jocelyn Doll - Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke nomad pens poetry, offers insight into homelessness

Rick the Poet Warrior’s books can be found online as well as at the Revelstoke library

Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner Andrea Inness walks beside an enormous western red cedar stump in a BCTS-issued cutblock in the Nahmint Valley. (PHOTO COURTESY TJ WATT)
Watchdog: logging practices put Vancouver Island old growth, biodiversity at risk

Forest Practices Board has issues with BC Timber Sales practices in Nahmint Valley near Port Alberni

Erik Christian Oun, who worked for the Coquitlam school district, has had his teaching licence suspended for half a year. (Pixabay)
B.C. teacher suspended after calling students ‘cutie’ and ‘sweetheart’ in online messages

Erik Oun’s licence has been suspended for half a year, a decision made by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

An Israeli attack helicopter launches flares as he flies over the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Singh calls for halt on Canadian arms sales to Israel as violence escalates in region

Government data shows Canada sent $13.7 million in military goods and technology to Israel in 2019

Most Read