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

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Improved health and social services needed

It’s imperative that the root systemic causes of homelessness are addressed, say letter writers

Province providing financing to help get apartments built in Nanaimo’s Wellington area

120 apartments on Ledgerwood Road intended to be affordable for ‘middle-income’ households

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Regional District of Nanaimo to start delivering new garbage carts

Updated automated curbside collection service set to get underway Oct. 1

Nanaimo RCMP want speeding motorists to ‘slow the blazes down’

Police raise alarm after seeing 400-per cent rise in excessive speeding tickets last month

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Departure Bay ferry capacity increases to 70%, says B.C. Ferries

Fifty-per-cent limit being phased out, B.C. Ferries has no current plans to provide masks

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Outreach team making connections with young people experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo

Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre youth advisory council initiative offers ‘no-barrier’ help downtown

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Most Read