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Supermoon not all that super

The supermoon on Monday night. Photo by Ashley Clark QNet News

The supermoon on Monday night in Belleville. Photo by Ashley Clark, QNet News

By James Gaughan [1]  

BELLEVILLE – Monday night was one of the final chances to get a look at the highly-anticipated supermoon. 

For the past few days the moon has been closer to earth than it has been in almost 70 years.

Randy Attwood, the executive director of the Royal Canadian Astronomical Society [2], says that the term ‘supermoon’ is misleading. 

“To be quite honest it won’t be all that noticeable with your naked eye,” he said. 

A supermoon is when a full moon is at its closest to point to the Earth, explained Attwood.

Astronomers don’t get excited over supermoons because the difference between a supermoon and a regular full moon is only a few per cent, said Attwood.

“Essentially, if someone holds a 16 in. pizza and a 16.5 in. pizza across the room then you might say ‘Hey that one’s just a little bit bigger,'” he said. “That’s the whole supermoon argument.”    

The supermoon appears slightly bigger to us when it’s near the horizon because of an optical illusion.

When it’s high up in the sky it looks the same as any regular moon, said Attwood.

Corina Aubin of the graphic design program [3] at Loyalist College [4] spent some time looking at the moon Monday night and said she could see a difference.

“I haven’t seen a moon that big for a while,” said Aubin. “I think it’s interesting. It’s fascinating.”   

The 22-year-old said she really wanted to see the supermoon after reading that this was the closest the moon had been to Earth in decades,

“I honestly think it’s pretty to look at. It doesn’t happen that often.” 

Attwood said that the last chance to see the supermoon would be on Tuesday since the moon will be back to the distance it normally is from Earth after that.

The next time the moon comes anywhere near this close to earth will be be in Nov. 2034.

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