Skywatchers across Brunei Darussalam were treated to a partial solar eclipse, which began yesterday at 3.10pm.
Many used special solar glasses to witness the rare annular event at outdoor locations, while others watched it through a livestreamed session conducted from 2.45pm to 5.30pm by the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam (PABD).
The livestream for the Brunei-Muara District was carried out at the Kiarong residence of PABD member Haji Mohd Azri bin Haji Ibrahim, who had even set up viewing equipment for eager observers.
Bandar Seri Begawan – Tonight’s full moon was a Supermoon which is astronomically known as the perigee-syzygy. It occurs when the full moon is directly opposite the sun and at the closest juncture (perigee) to earth in its orbit.
Tonight’s full moon was the final Supermoon in 2020, and the next occurrence is on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 11:31 am. (Find out when is the next Supermoon from 2020 until 2030 here)
Here are some of tonight’s best supermoon snapshots from around Brunei Darussalam.
Bandar Seri Begawan – The bright planets – Jupiter, Saturn and Mars – together with the Waning Moon were all visible today on April 16, 2020 from Mini Astronomical Observatory in Tutong, Brunei Darussalam at predawn hours.
The lunar orbit around Earth is elliptical. On average, the distance from Earth to the moon is about 384,400 km. At closest approach (perigee), the moon comes as close as 363,104 km. The farthest away (apogee) it gets is 405,696 km from Earth.
A “supermoon” takes place when a full moon or new moon comes within 90 percent of its closest distance with Earth.
In 2020, three full moon supermoons will occur on March 10 (351198.3 km), April 8 (350564.2 km) and May 7 (353753.9 km). At these instances, the moon will look brighter than ordinary full moons; and about 7% larger than the average-size full moon.
Additionally, three new moon supermoons in 2020 are on September 17 (368459.5 km), October 17 (363392.8 km) and November 15 (364146.4 km).
Bandar Seri Begawan – A penumbral eclipse of the moon will take place on Saturday, January 11, 2020, at pre-dawn hours, from 1.09 a.m. until 5.11 a.m in Brunei Darussalam. The first eclipse of 2020 is also visible from the geographic regions of Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.
There are three categories of lunar eclipse: total, partial and penumbral. In a penumbral lunar eclipse, only the faint or diffuse outer shadow of Earth (known as penumbra) falls on the moon’s face. This kind of lunar eclipse is much more subtle, and much more difficult to observe, than either a total or partial eclipse of the moon. There is never a dramatic darkening of the moon, as in when the Earth’s darkest shadow (umbra) moves over the Moon during a partial lunar eclipse.
A supermoon is a full moon or a new moon that nearly coincides with perigee (the closest that the Moon comes to the Earth in its elliptic orbit) resulting in a slightly larger-than-usual apparent size of the lunar disk as viewed from Earth. The astronomy term is a perigee syzygy (of the Earth–Moon–Sun system) or a full (or new) Moon around perigee.
Criteria of Supermoon
There are no official definition for a supermoon, as the term was mainly a related interest to astrology. Few criteria as follow:
Richard Nolle (2011) defines Supermoon as any lunation closer than 368,630 km.
Fred Espenak (2012) defines the Moon’s mean apogee and perigee distances results in a mean limiting distance of 367,607 km for a super moon.
Fergus Wood (1976) used the definition of a full or new moon occurring within 24 hours of perigee and also used the label perigee-syzygy.
Sky and Telescope magazine chose a definition of 223,000 miles (358,884 km)
TimeandDate.com prefers a definition of 360,000 km (223,694 mi).
You can find the full list of Supermoon / Perigee syzygy / Full Moon around perigee for year 2020 until 2030 below compiled and computed by Hazarry Hj Ali Ahmad, the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam, based on the above definitions. A logical check is also generated for the top 3 closest moon distance in that year. A personal opinion is to categories the Supermoon when at least 3 of the criterial searches were met.
Bandar Seri Begawan – The new 19-hour old crescent moon of Rabiulakhir was sighted today, on Wednesday evening (November 27th) by moon-sighters of Brunei Darussalam Astronomical Society at 6.31 pm, when the curved light was less than 2 degrees above the horizon.
The western sky was cloudy near the horizon at sunset, scopes were aligned using the 3 planet – Venus, Saturn and Jupiter – and unable to align using the Sun as it was most of the time behind the clouds.
Kuala Belait – The International Space Station (ISS) flew exactly in front of the Moon on Thursday morning, Sep 19, 2019 at precisely 05:29:46.49 am for 0.61 seconds.
Despite of the hazy sky, the space station passing in front of the moon which takes less than a second was observable by a group of astrophotgraphers from the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam over Panaga, Brunei Darussalam.