Greene County News Report
SOLAR SYSTEM — The night sky was bright Sunday evening into Monday morning thanks to the “super blood moon,” a combination of a “supermoon” and a lunar eclipse.
The supermoon occurs once each year.
“Because the orbit of the moon is not a perfect circle, the moon is sometimes closer to the Earth than at other times during its orbit,” said Noah Petro, deputy project scientist for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. “When the moon is farthest away it’s known as apogee, and when it’s closest it’s known as perigee.”
On Sunday, moon gazers could see a perigee full moon, the closest full moon of the year. According to NASA, at perigee, the moon is about 31,000 miles closer to Earth than at apogee, which makes the moon appear larger and brighter in the sky.
“There’s no physical difference in the moon,” Petro said. “It just appears slightly bigger in the sky. It’s not dramatic, but it does look larger.”
The supermoon came in combination with a lunar eclipse, which occurs when the Earth passes in between the moon and the sun and the Earth’s shadow falls on the moon. According to NASA, this combination of events last occurred in 1982 and won’t happen again until 2033.