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Everything you need to know about tonight's Flower Supermoon

The third supermoon of this year will be visible tonight and tomorrow, with the perfect time to watch at around 10pm tonight.

Image: DAVID MOORE

TONIGHT AND TOMORROW night Ireland will get a view of the Flower Supermoon, the third out of four supermoons this year.

The full supermoon began today at 12:13 am, 26 May, Irish time, according to David Moore, chairperson and founder of Astronomy Ireland and editor of its magazine. However, the moon stays large and bright in the sky tonight and tomorrow night.

It will rise in the east around half an hour after sunset and will be visible throughout the night. Tonight, the best time to watch the moon is around 10 pm.

“It varies a bit but around the country,” said Moore, “within 10 minutes of 10pm [...] that’s the ideal time to watch.”

What is a supermoon?

The moon goes around the earth in an elliptical or egg-shaped orbit. There are times when the earth is nearest the moon and times when the earth is farthest from it.

When the earth is closest to the moon and there happens to be a full moon at that time, you get an extra large and extra bright full moon, known as a supermoon.

The moon is named the Flower Supermoon because, historically, most flowers were in bloom at this time of year.

How to take the perfect picture

Have you ever attempted to take a picture of the moon only for it to show up less than half its size on your phone or camera? Moore explains this phenomenon as the “moon illusion.”

The moon illusion is an optical illusion that makes the moon appear bigger when it’s nearer to the horizon.

“When the moon is rising, it’s very low in the sky, and you can see things in between you and the moon trees, houses, whatever, on the landscape: the moon just looks bigger,” Moore said. “And I’ve seen this myself, you would swear that the full moon is two to three times wider than it normally is.”

“No one’s sure why it happens.”

As the moon continues to rise, the illusion fades and finishes when the moon gets higher in the sky.

But when you take a picture, even when the moon is low on the horizon, the moon illusion doesn’t work.

To try to counter the illusions “you can line up them with buildings or trees or anything in the landscape sculptures, things like that,” said Moore. “Or even you can have a member of your family stick their hand out, and you can move around so the moon appears to be sitting on their hands.”

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SUpermoon Source: DAVID MOORE

Another factor that might hinder your perfect picture is the weather. According to Met Éireann, tonight will stay dry with clear spells, although some mist and fog patches may set in. On Thursday night, widespread rain and clouds are expected across the country.

While cloud cover and fog may be a concern, Moore said that it all varies and that the whole country won’t be foggy at once. “Someone in Ireland will definitely get it. It’s always clear somewhere in Ireland even when there’s lots of rain of around.”

“if you don’t see it tonight, if it’s totally cloudy where you are, try again tomorrow night. It will look just as good.”

The previous set of supermoons was in 2019. The next and final supermoon this year will be on 24 June, the Strawberry Supermoon.

The next big moon event expected to happen is on 10 June, where the moon will move between the sun and the earth and will cause an eclipse. Up to 45% of the sun’s diameter will be covered.

It will take up to two hours for the eclipse to start and finish on a Thursday morning. “And we’re advising everybody in the country to book a day off work,” said Moore.

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