No you are not hallucinating: Yes, the moon looks brighter than normal and yes, it looks bigger, too. On Tuesday evening, that is today, it is the Super Snow Moon when the full moon appears much bigger and bright than usual – so much that it will be the biggest and brightest full moon of 2019.
February 19 has brought the real show – what astronomers at NASA call a “perigean” or “supermoon” and it coincides with a full moon that’s often referred to as a “snow moon” or “hunger moon”. It’s not an unusual event in the context of our human existence on Earth. In fact, 12 to 14 full moons occur each year, and about one-fourth of these are larger and brighter than normal – hence the term supermoon. But, that doesn’t make this full moon any less fantastic to look at on a crisp winter evening, especially on the eve of humanity’s 50th anniversary of landing men on the moon, as NASA scientist Mitzi Adams said in a recent blog post.
Astronomers say that it was a Super Moon when it had moved into a position closest to the earth during its orbit. “As NASA and its commercial and international partners plan to return the moon over the next decade with a long-term continued presence, the list of moon walkers will surely include women, as well,” Adams said. The reason why the moon appeared nearly 14% bigger and 30% brighter was its proximity to the earth,” said Debiprosad Duari, director of MP Birla Institute of Fundamental Research at MP Birla Planetarium.
February’s “super snow moon” will occur just six hours after a perigee distance of 221,681 miles, according to NASA. This will not only make it the second of three supermoons in a row, but also the largest and brightest full moon of the year. (The closer the moon is to Earth, the bigger it will appear and the more sunlight it can reflect.) So do not miss to take a minute and gaze up in the sky tonight.