The Virtual Telescope Project will bring us live views of the first Supermoon of the year on February 8, 2020, as it rises above the unique skyline of Rome. The online, free session will start at 16:00 UTC.
Supermoon is a popular term indicating a Full Moon or a New Moon happening when our satellite is close to its perigee - its minimum distance from the Earth. The term itself is of no scientific value as astronomers prefer to call it perigee Full Moon, but undoubtedly 'Supermoon' is by far a much more charming name, Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project said.
"The Supermoon offers us a great opportunity to look up and discover the sky. Showing the stunning beauty up there, feeding the desire to enjoy it more and better, understating why it is disappearing from our cities, it is possible to involve people and spontaneously promote responsible actions and behaviors in using artificial light".
The February 2020 'Supermoon' will appear a bit brighter and bigger than an average Full Moon, but casual stargazers will not recognize this at their first glance, these are not really obvious variations, but this adds charm to the event, a precious opportunity to admire our natural satellite in the night sky context, an increasingly overlooked and forgotten landscape.
The show of the Full Moon (and of course of the 'Supermoon') offers its best when our satellite rises or sets, which happens at sunset and at dawn, respectively (the Full Moon shines in the sky on the opposite direction respect to the Sun, so it rises at sunset and sets at dawn).
During the twilight, the residual solar light scattered all around by our atmosphere allows us to admire the scenery, while the full Moon rises or falls on the horizon.
Image courtesy Virtual Telescope Project / Gianluca Masi
At night, the Full Moon is very bright, almost dazzling, compared to the darkness of the landscape. At its rise, the Moon appears behind monuments and elements of the landscape, generating the feeling that its disk is larger than usual, but this is just an optical illusion, due to the presence of those terrestrial elements on the line of sight, giving grounds for comparison.
Seeing the Full Moon, especially when "super" rising above Rome is a unique emotion: our satellite hangs above the legendary skyline of the Eternal City, with its glorious monuments, adding their magic to the experience.
To see the show, enter Virtual Telescope's WebTV at 16:00 UTC on February 8.
Featured image credit: Virtual Telescope