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The August full moon, known as the Sturgeon Moon, visible in the skies over Lurgan in County Armagh, Northern Ireland last year. Alamy Stock Photo
Out of this World

A supermoon will be visible over Ireland across the next three nights

Clouds and rain showers might spoil the view for some people across the country, however.

LAST UPDATE | Jul 31st 2023, 5:17 PM

IRISH STARGAZERS ARE being encouraged to look to the skies this week to catch a glimpse of a supermoon that will be visible over Ireland.

The full moon, which will be the second of four supermoons this year, will appear larger and brighter than usual. 

However, heavy clouds and rain showers might spoil the view for some people across the country.

According to NASA, a supermoon occurs when the moon’s orbit is closest to the Earth at the same time as a full moon, which makes the moon appear 14% larger and 30% brighter than normal.

The full moon in August is known as the ‘Sturgeon Moon’, as this type of fish was mostly caught by Native Americans in the Great Lakes in North America around this time of year.

Astronomy Ireland said that Tuesday will be the best night to see the phenomenon, with the moon due to rise at 10pm.

Tonight will be just as good, it added, with the moon rising at 9.30pm, along with Wednesday, when the moon will rise at 10.20pm.

“The best time to watch is at moon rise, which is the same time the Sun sets, when a further effect, called ‘The Moon Illusion’ kicks in which can make the moon ‘look’ even bigger to the human eye/brain combination.” said David Moore, founder and chairman of Astronomy Ireland.

While the moon will be most visible on Tuesday, the weather may mean that it will be clouded.

Cloudy weather

Speaking to The Journal, Carlow Weather’s Alan O’Reilly said there is a low-pressure system coming through tomorrow night.

“There’s going to be a lot of showers and cloud around tomorrow night, and there’s not likely to be too many breaks in the cloud,” he said.

However, he said there may still be a good chance of seeing the supermoon tonight, when there will be some breaks in the cloud.

a-supermoon-also-known-as-the-sturgeon-moon-rises-with-san-franciscos-coit-tower-in-the-foreground-seen-from-from-sausalito-calif-thursday-aug-11-2022-carlos-avila-gonzalezsan-francisco-c A supermoon, also known as the 'Sturgeon Moon', rises with San Francisco's Coit Tower in the foreground, seen from from Sausalito, California in August 2022. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

“Around the time the moon is rising tonight, there could be a good few areas that will have a break in the cloud so they may well spot the moon rising,” he said.

“It will mainly be in the southern half the country but a chance further north for a few spots as well, though there will be some showers around in the north.”

There will also be some breaks in the cloud on Wednesday night, but there will be quite a bit of cloud around, O’Reilly said.

Liz Walsh of Met Éireann told The Journal that there may be some brighter spells coming up from the south this afternoon, with a chance of sunny spells across southern parts of the country this evening.

“We should see a bit more in the way of clear spells tonight,” she said.

“Tomorrow we’ve got a spell of rain moving up later on in the afternoon. It’s a wet night tomorrow night so there’s very little chance of seeing the moon from that.

“Wednesday night, we’re probably clearing out again from that rain, so there’s probably a fairly good chance of seeing it.”

The next supermoon will be visible on 20 August, while the fourth and final supermoon of the year will occur on 29 September.

It is relatively rare for two full moons to take place in the same month, which happens once every two to three years with the second full moon being known as a ‘blue moon’.

Astronomy Ireland is asking moon gazers to send them any photos or written comments of their observation for publication in a special review of the event.

“People get very creative at these ‘SuperMoon rises’ and line them up with buildings, sculptures, landscape features, and even friends and families to make very creative photos,” Moore said.

“We want to feature them in Astronomy Ireland magazine so we are hoping people all around the island will send us their best photo for our special SuperMoon issue.”

More information is available on Astronomy Ireland’s website.

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