This month, the amateur astronomers of SKY Ametuer Astronomers Club (SKYAAC) of Scientific Knowledge for Youth Foundation, Lucknow cannot stargaze outside their houses, because of current lockdown. Nevertheless, they are getting the unprecedented views, thanks to clear skies and pollution free atmosphere above their houses, in once thickly polluted Lucknow. The current 21-day lockdown, to tackle Covid-19, has resulted in lower pollution levels, which have in turn lead to clearer air, less noise and light.
“I have been able to watch Venus in the day time with naked eyes. The night sky from my terrace is now densely packed with stars. In the morning, you can see the belt of Orion, also Sagittarius and Scorpio, are the constellations in the southern skies. Their specialty is that Sagittarius marks the center of Milky Way Galaxy and Scorpio straddles the Milky Way.” Says Utkarsh Mishra, Astro-photographer, SKY FOUNDATION
According to Mr. Rahul Singhania, Director, SKY Foundation, “Sky watchers will get a chance for sighting the Pink Super Moon (the largest full moon of the year 2020) on the late night of April 7 and on evening of April 8th with the naked eyes. A supermoon is preparing itself for a magic show in the skies this month, so night sky gazers, reserve your seats for April 7 and 8 night. The best time to enjoy a Super Full Moon, or any other Full Moon, is just after moonrise, when the Moon is close to the horizon and Just before moonset is also a good time. Because when the Full Moon is low, it looks bigger and brighter than when it’s higher up in the sky.”
A supermoon comes about when the Moon is “full” and reaches perigee (the point in the orbit of the Moon at which it is nearest to the Earth). So, when a full Moon is nearest to the Earth, a supermoon occurs. A Super Full Moon’s angular size is nearly 14% bigger than a Micro Full Moon, and nearly 7% bigger than an average Full Moon. Because it’s so close to Earth, a Super Full Moon also looks about 30% brighter than a Micro Full Moon and about 16% brighter than an average Full Moon.
Since this phenomenon is occurring in April so it is also called Pink Moon. It does not mean that it won’t actually be colored pink. The Moon’s appearance has also been named for every month. According to some reports, unlike Blood Moon (when the appearance is somewhat red), Pink Moon has received its name from Wild Ground Phlox flowers which bloom in spring. These flowers are native to North America. The Super Pink Moon, which will be the first full Moon of the spring season, will glow in the night skies.
Meanwhile, the appearance of the Moon is expected to be the shortest on October 31, 2020.
In India, the perigee position of moon was on 11:38 pm on 7th April 2020 when the distance between the moon and the Earth was 356900 km. In general, its average distance is 384000 km. Illumination of moon at perigee position of moon was 98.7 %. We don’t get able to view the full moon as it happened just after 8 hours 30 minutes after perigee, on 08:05 am, in morning of 8th April .
“Technically, this primary Moon phase only lasts a moment, the instant when the Sun and the Moon are aligned on opposite sides of Earth. Therefore, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a Full Moon and the last stage of a Waxing Gibbous Moon or the beginning of a Waning Gibbous Moon. So we can enjoy both of the nights such as on 7th April 2020 the waxing gibbous moon and on 8th April 2020 the wanning gibbous moon as a CLOSEST SUPER MOON. On 8th night at the time of moon rise we get low moon, it looks bigger in size, it is also called moon illusion.” Said Mr. Abhimanu Verma, Outreach events Coordinator, SKY Foundation.
Our astro photographers clicked some very beautiful pictures on Perigee position and on superpink moon position. Here are some of the glimpse.