January to bring supermoons, meteor shower, lunar eclipse

SUPERMOON: The earth and the moon will come a little closer together tonight, giving us a supermoon that promises to be bigger and brighter than usual. Picture: Michael Frogley
SUPERMOON: The earth and the moon will come a little closer together tonight, giving us a supermoon that promises to be bigger and brighter than usual. Picture: Michael Frogley

If you thought today would be a good chance to give your neck a rest from looking up into the sky after last night’s stunning fireworks display, think again.

A supermoon will be gracing our skies this evening, and editor of Astro-Space News David Reneke said it’s sure to be a superb sight.

“’Supermoon’ was a term coined by an astrologer about 40 years ago to describe a moon that's a bit bigger and brighter – generally 15 to 20 percent brighter,” he said. 

“The moon's orbit around the earth is not circular, it's elliptical, so every now and then we come a bit closer together and we get a supermoon.” 

Mr Reneke also had some fun full moon trivia on hand ahead of tonight’s display.

“Anyone working in a hospital would tell you they get more admissions during a full moon,” he said.

“I think it's a population density thing – people stay out longer, they're on the roads longer, they're in bars and pubs longer – and that's where the term lunatic comes from.

LUNAR ECLIPSE: The stargazing fun will continue right up until the end of January, when a lunar eclipse will turn the moon red. Picture: Kerrie Stewart

LUNAR ECLIPSE: The stargazing fun will continue right up until the end of January, when a lunar eclipse will turn the moon red. Picture: Kerrie Stewart

“The good news about the supermoon is that there’s going to be king tides – there’s a tie in between tides and fishing and the moon phases – so the fishos should catch a few extra fish!”

The best part is that the stargazing fun won’t end with tonight’s supermoon – Mr Reneke said January has a couple of other astronomical surprises in store to follow.

“The Quadrantid meteor shower will go from the 3rd to the 5th of January, so this means that, if people want to stay out until after 12, the shower will be at its best from 1am to 3am,” he said. 

“The big one will come at the end of January when we get an eclipse – the moon is expected to turn a cherry red colour during that.”

If you’d like to catch a glimpse of tonight’s supermoon, the moon is set to rise at 6:56pm, and the views will only get better as the night sky gets darker.

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