UAE: Will the Moon turn super blue tonight? Experts explain

Enthusiasts will have to wait over 10 years for this rare celestial event to occur again


Ruqayya Al Qaydi

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Published: Thu 31 Aug 2023, 6:00 AM

Skywatchers across the UAE will be treated with a rare ‘Super Blue Moon’ tonight. But will the Moon really turn blue?

The lunar colour will not change at all but it will definitely appear extra brighter and larger. The term ‘Blue Moon’ is used when there are two full Moons in the same (Gregorian) calendar month. A Supermoon, meanwhile, is used to describe when the Moon is at perigee or its closest point to Earth. These two celestial spectacles will happen tonight and that's why it’s called a ‘Super Blue Moon’.

Engr. Mohammed Shaukat Awad, director of the International Astronomy Centre, said the increase in Moon size will be observable during sunrise and sunset. He also highlighted that there have been instances of exaggeration and misconceptions surrounding this event.

He explained that the term ‘blue’ has nothing do with changing the Moon’s colour but the occurrence of having a second full Moon in a calendar month.

The Supermoon, meanwhile, is a term coined for the special alignment, when the full Moon coincides with its closest point to Earth, which happens three or four times a year.

Ibrahim Al Jorwan, member of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences, added more insights into this phenomenon. He said a Supermoon occurs when the full moon aligns with its nearest point to Earth , or within about 90 per cent of that distance, which is less than 360,000 km.

At perigee (the point Moon’s orbit that is nearest to Earth), the Moon's apparent size increases by about 15 per cent as compared to when it is at its apogee or farthest position, that is about 404,000 km away.

Skywatchers should not miss tonight’s celestial treat as the next time a rare Super Blue Moon will rise again will be in 2037.


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