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.
Bandar Seri Begawan – The Western sky was clear on the evening of August 31, 2019. The celestial objects, Venus and Sun, were used for scopes alignment during the new moon sighting.
The new moon observation of Muharram 1441H was held at Agok Hill by members of Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam. The 24 hour-old hilal (crescent moon) was sighted immediately after sunset, 6.28 pm (after pointing the scopes at sunset and slewing to the Moon).
PABD wishes all Muslims in Brunei Darussalam and around the world Salam Maal Hijrah 1441H.
Bandar Seri Begawan – Curiosity and awe have greeted a partial lunar eclipse at pre-dawn hours of July 17, 2019. Here are some of the eclipse moment photographed around Brunei Darussalam.
The following pictures were taken at Panaga Beach , during lunar eclipse on Wednesday 17th between 3.15 and 5:30 am by Rolando Fidel Pinto. Gear used DSLR Pentax K1 with Pentax 1.4x HD PENTAX-DA AF Rear Converter AW and Pentax HD DA 560mm ED AW F5.6 ED AW Lens, which delivers a total focal length of 784mm. Tripod used is a Velbo Pro Geo V630 with a Jobu Design Gimbal Head DMG-HD4
Supermoon, Full Moon, Equinox? Check out this space infographic below for explanation. Catch the ‘Super Equinox Full Moon’ visible the whole night from Brunei Darussalam on 20th (Wednesday) and 21st (Thursday) March 2019.
Supermoon occurs on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 2:37 am at its closest distance (Perigee) of 359 345 km to Earth. The moon will be slightly bigger than a normal moon, but only by a few percents.
Spring Equinox occurs on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 5:59 am. The sun rises exactly due East and sets due West. Day and night have the same length.
Full Moon occurs on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 9:43 am. On this day, Earth is between the moon and the sun, and the moon is visible during the whole night.
Bandar Seri Begawan – An unusual full moon light “hypnotised” many skywatchers to a rare celestial display around the world including Brunei Darussalam on Tuesday night, 19 Feb 2019.
The super moon was the biggest and brightest in 2019 because its orbit is at its closest to earth or at perigee at around 356,800km.
At such shortest distance, the Earth’s only natural satellite appeared nearly 30% brighter and almost 14% bigger than a typical full moon. Some effects of the moon’s gravitational pull at our oceans was more pronounced than other times of the month, generating higher than normal high tides or Spring Tides.
Below, some of the best shots of it from around the Sultanate.
Due to the recent outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19), the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam (PABD) has postponed most of our public engagement activities such as stargazing, new moon observation etc. until further notice and focus on implementing Astronomy at Home or in a small group activity. This is in view of prevention and to control the spread of the infection in Brunei Darussalam.