Can we stop all this about the “Supermoon”

Oooh the moon is all super, it looks huge.

Except it doesn’t. When it’s high in the sky it looks a similar size to what it always does.

The term Supermoon was only coined in 2011 by someone claiming end of the world style disaster, and the media still put quotes around it to cover their backs.
The pedigree (when the moon is closest to the earth) occurs several times a year making the event not that unique.

So how much bigger is the supermoon? Well on the night of any full moon hold a ruler 30cm away from your eyes. You’ll find the moon is about 2.5mm in diameter. And a supermoon is a whole 7% larger, so a seven percent increase of 2.5mm is 2.675mm. Huge! I’m sure you can tell the difference, especially against the huge black sky.

Of course if you have a camera with a good lens you could spot the difference, but nothing more than you adjusting the zoom level slightly.

So when does the moon look bigger? Most times whilst it’s just above the horizon. It’s still the same size, but due to an optical illusion it appears larger and it’s this event along with hi-res photos of the moon that journalists continue to create clickbait style articles to claim our skies will be filled with a big ball.

Thanks to Sky and Telescope and their comments for the numbers.

1 thought on “Can we stop all this about the “Supermoon”

  1. I spent 2 hours last night outside waiting for the full eclipse and was completely skunked by clouds. Was like looking at a red blur through some cloth. Very disappointing i didn’t see it since i probably won’t get another chance at my age.

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