File photo by Ryan Lim
File photo by Ryan Lim

UAE: Catch last supermoon of 2021 today, 7.04pm

Dubai - This June supermoon is called a ‘strawberry moon’.

By Nandini Sircar

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Published: Thu 24 Jun 2021, 2:32 AM

Last updated: Thu 24 Jun 2021, 6:37 AM

Set your alarm: At 7.04pm today, June 24, the last supermoon of the year will grace the UAE night sky.

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This June supermoon, the third in the region and last for 2021, is called ‘strawberry moon’ — but it won’t be red or pink, neither will it look like a strawberry.

Hasan Al Hariri, CEO of the Dubai Astronomy Group and director Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre, said “the strawberry moon gets its sweet name from the Algonquin tribes of North America who related its appearance to the start of the strawberry-picking season”.

“So, it won’t appear red or pink; it will look large and gold as it appears above the horizon,” he explained.

“To observe the supermoon for photography, the best time is when the moon rises. It is advised that people should go to a high point or find an unobstructed area for the best view of the strawberry supermoon,” Al Hariri said.

Experts explain that a supermoon can appear up to 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter than a full moon when it is farthest away from Earth. As tomorrow’s moon passes within just 360,00 km of the planet, skygazers can expect a dazzling celestial treat.

Explaining the phenomenon, Sarath Raj N.S, project director of Amity Dubai Satellite Ground Station, and programme leader for aerospace engineering at Amity University Dubai, said: “Any full moon or new moon that comes within 224,791 miles or 361,766 km (or less) of Earth, as measured from the centres of the moon and earth, can be called a supermoon. That may perhaps be the reason behind multiple sightings of supermoons in a single year.”

This year, supermoons were sighted in the UAE in April and May. However, according to Nasa, different publications use slightly different thresholds for deciding when a full moon is close enough to Earth to qualify as a supermoon, with some stating there have been four supermoons this year.

“The clear sight of the moon in its perigee (the point in the orbit of the moon at which it is nearest to the earth) point on the orbit around the earth was immortalised in folklore centuries ago. Thus, the use of legendary names like blood moon, red moon, pink moon, blue moon and strawberry moon, were used,” Raj added.

Space enthusiasts can tune into live-streaming options like the Virtual Telescope Project, Perth Observatory, Starry Nights, Sanora Astronomical Society and Slooh pages to see the strawberry supermoon.

The Dubai Astronomy Group is organising a paid event at Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre where people can observe with their naked eye or use powerful telescopes. Experts will also be conducting a Q&A session.

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