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Super moon 2021 : Natural spectacle in the sky - this is what the pink full moon looked like

A special natural spectacle occurred on Tuesday, April 27th: A “super moon”, also called “super full moon”, could be seen in the sky. But not only its size, but also its color were a special sight.

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"Around 5 o'clock in the morning the moon reaches its full moon phase and is relatively close to the earth at a distance of around 360,000 kilometers," said astrophysicist Heino Falcke with regard to the event. The full moon is then in its closest position to the earth (perigee) and is illuminated by the sun - a "super moon".

The term “super moon” is not a recognized term in astronomy and is not used by scientists, explains Falcke. There is no official definition for this. The astronomical phenomenon was named in 1979 by astrologer Richard Nolle. According to its definition, the full moon must approach the earth to at least 367,600 kilometers in order to be considered a “super moon”.

Pink moon over Berlin too

The moon then appears up to 15 percent brighter than usual when it approaches the earth. "That happens relatively regularly, sometimes up to four times a year," says Falcke. But it doesn't get any closer than this time. Due to its red shimmering color, the “super moon” is also known as the “pink moon”.

For Berlin, the full moon phase was expected at 5.31 a.m. If you didn't have time to look at the sky that night, you don't have to wait long for the next lunar event. A “super moon” can be admired again on May 26th.

“What the human eye then perceives is an optical illusion,” explained the professor. The moon is not getting bigger, "the head plays it for us". The moon is particularly spectacular to look at when it is just rising or just before it is going to set. At these times it is just above the horizon and appears even larger. This phenomenon is known as the lunar illusion.

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If you didn't want to wait until 5 a.m. on Tuesday, you could take a look at the super moon around 9 p.m. on Monday evening. "At this point it will be very big to see," promised Falcke.

And if you want to see a spectacle like this, you don't necessarily have to leave the big city. “When the weather is clear, you can look from anywhere without any problems.” Falcke recommends picking up binoculars and using such opportunities to examine the craters and edges of the earth's satellite. "That is beautiful."

How is the super moon formed?

Since the moon's orbit around the earth is elliptical, the distance between the moon and the earth is also constantly changing. That depends on the position of the moon in its 29-day orbit. The average distance between the earth's satellite and the earth is approximately 384,400 kilometers.

Supermoons 2021 - Distance between Earth and the full moon

  • March 28, 2021: At 8:48 p.m. - 363,167 kilometers
  • April 27, 2021: At 5.31 a.m. - 357,614 kilometers
  • May 26, 2021: At 1:14 p.m. - 357,462 kilometers
  • June 24, 2021: At 8:40 p.m. - 361,556 kilometers

As the moon gets closer to the earth, the gravitational pull increases - and this affects the tides. This increases the ebb and flow of the tide. "During the night from Monday to Tuesday, the moon-earth distance is reduced by about 14 percent," says Falcke. Such changes could result in stronger spring tides, but that would only have a minimal impact.

The event is more something for the eye. “Nevertheless, it is good to sometimes remember what influence the moon has on the earth,” says the scientist. There was also a super moon in 2019. In 2018 there was even a "Blue Blood-Red Super Moon".

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