Tonight is the third full moon after the March equinox. In North America we often call this particular full moon the Flower Moon. It is also called the Rose Moon or Strawberry Moon. Plus the moon is at its lunar perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth for this month. By a newly coined popular definition, that makes this May 25 full moon a supermoon.
What’s a supermoon? It’s a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.
The first “super” full moon for 2013 is coming up tonight. There are only4-6 supermoons a year on average.
There will be three supermoons in a row coming up over these next three months in 2013: May 25, June 23, July 22, with the June full moon being the most “super”.
Don’t miss out on the great planetary trio of May 2013. When three planets meet up in the same part of the sky, coming less than 5o degrees of one another, the grouping is called a planetary trio. This month’s planetary trio is the first since May 2011 and the last until October 2015.
A typical binocular field covers about 5o degrees of sky. If you have binoculars, take them along with you to see tonight’s planetary trio – the planets Mercury, Venus and Jupiter – in a single binocular field. If you don’t have binoculars, view the evening tableau anyway for these beautiful and brilliant planets should be visible to the unaided eye.
All three planets will be about 3o degrees apart as evening dusk falls on May 25, 26 and 27. That’s about the width of your thumb at an arm length. Look for all three worlds to pop out into the deepening dusk around 40 to 60 minutes after sunset. With binoculars, you can spot the close-knit group of planets all the sooner in the glow of sunset.
- Supermoon, rare planetary lineup in Friday’s night sky (mercurynews.com)
- The Flower Supermoon of 2013 (siriusphotoart.wordpress.com)
- 9 Amazing Supermoon Photographs (shutterstock.com)
- Tonight’s Full Moon is a “Buddah Moon” or “Wesak” (illuminations2012.wordpress.com)
- Is biggest, closest full moon on June 23, 2013 a Supermoon? (sott.net)