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The March 20, 2015 supermoon is a new moon, and it causes a total eclipse of the sun.
This year has a total of six supermoons. They are the new moons of January, February and March and the full moons of August, September and October.
The March supermoon is accompanied by a total solar eclipse.
The name supermoon was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle over 30 years ago. It was popularized and came to be an accepted term only in the past few years. Richard Nolle has defined a supermoon as: “… 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 closest full supermoon will be in September, 2015.
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The first total lunar eclipse of 2014 will occur early morning on April 15, darkening the full moon and possibly tinting it a reddish hue that causes some to call it a “Blood Moon”.
For nearly an hour and a half, the moon will be dimmed and possibly appearing a copper color because of sunlight bent by the atmosphere.
The total eclipse begins around 3 a.m. and ends around 4:30 a.m., with the moon at its dimmest at 3:46 a.m.
The eclipse will be visible across the Americas as well as throughout the Pacific.
It is the first of three eclipses that will be visible here in 2014.
Another full lunar eclipse will occur October 8, and the beginning of a partial solar eclipse can be seen on October 23.
Whether the moon appears in an orange or reddish hue or if it just appears dimmed depends on particles and clouds in the sky, much like sunrises and sunsets.
Where to see the eclipse
Continents seeing at least some parts of the eclipse:
West in Asia
East in North America
Parts of South America
Total eclipse visible in:
Locations near the shadow’s path:
Christchurch, New Zealand
Majuro, Marshall Islands
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
The first total lunar eclipse of 2014 will occur early morning on April 15 (photo NASA)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Palikir, Ponape, Micronesia
Unalaska, Alaska, US
Honiara, Solomon Islands
Midway, Midway Atoll, US
Port Vila, Vanuatu
Wake Island, Wake Island, US
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Noumea, New Caledonia, France
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Partial eclipse visible in:
Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands
Guam (Hagåtña), Guam
Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia
Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia
Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia
Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
Manokwari, West Papua, Indonesia
Eucla, Western Australia, Australia
When the eclipse happens worldwide:
Lunar eclipses look approximately the same all over the world and happen at the same time.
The times displayed might be a minute or two off actual times.
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The timing of the royal baby’s birth today will dictate whether the child is an emotional Cancer or fiery Leo, astrologers say.
If Kate Middleton’s baby is born before 4.54 p.m. today, it will be a Cancerian, like its father Prince William and grandmother Diana, Princess of Wales.
But if the baby comes later, astrologers say it will be Leo, like its great aunt Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, and Princess Anne.
Kate Middleton went into labor at 6 a.m. this morning – with many suggesting the approaching full moon at 11.16 a.m. helped bring on the contractions.
Prince William is with Kate Middleton at the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London, where he himself was born in 1982.
The timing of the royal baby’s birth today will dictate whether the child is an emotional Cancer or fiery Leo
But as the country waits to hear whether Britain has a future king or queen, there was a Twitter frenzy this morning as to whether it would be born a Cancer or a Leo.
Astrologer with The Association of Professional Astrologers International, Deike Begg, says the timing of the baby’s birth will play a huge role in their personality type.
Deike Begg said: “If the baby is born before 4.54 p.m. they will be a Cancer – like father William. But its moon will be in Capricorn – which is the same star-sign as mother Kate.
“This means the baby will share a lot of the parents’ personality traits.
“As a Cancer, the child will be very family oriented like its parents and sensitive. Cancers often appear strong on the outside but are very soft on the inside.
“But with a Capricorn moon it would also be aware of its responsibilities and dependable.”
Traditionally those born under the star-sign of Cancer – generally between June 22nd and July 22nd although the exact dates vary slightly every year – are sensitive, caring, shrewd, family oriented and protective of their loved ones.
Typical Leo traits are said to include confidence, ambition, generosity and loyalty.
President Barack Obama has warned Americans to take Hurricane Sandy seriously as authorities started shutting down the eastern seaboard ahead of its arrival.
Several states have declared emergencies, with tens of millions of people affected as schools are closed and transport services suspended.
Experts fear Hurricane Sandy may become a super-storm when it makes landfall later.
Some election rallies have been called off, with Barack Obama warning affected citizens to take precautions.
International travel has been badly affected. Air France, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic grounded Monday’s transatlantic flights to and from East Coast cities, including New York, Baltimore, Newark, Washington, Boston and Philadelphia.
At 02:00 EDT, the storm was turning north, its eye swirling about 425 miles (760 km) south-east of New York City, according to the National Hurricane Center.
With winds of 75 mph, Hurricane Sandy, dubbed “Frankenstorm”or “Superstorm”, is expected to bring a “life-threatening” surge flood to the mid-Atlantic coast, including Long Island Sound and New York Harbour.
The winds are expected to strengthen when Hurricane Sandy makes landfall anywhere between Virginia and southern New England on Monday.
The prospect of merging with a wintry storm coming from the west during a full moon has many fearing dangerous high tides.
Sandy is some 520 miles (835 km) across. It is also very slow, moving north-east at just 15 mph, and could linger over as many as 12 states for 24-36 hours, bringing up to 25 cm of rain, 60 cm of snow, extreme storm surges and power cuts.
States of emergency have been declared in Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington DC and parts of North Carolina.
The two presidential election contenders have modified their campaign engagements, with Mitt Romney pulling out of an event in Virginia and Barack Obama cancelling rallies in Virginia and Colorado.
The president has pulled out of a Monday event in Ohio – considered a key swing state – in order to return to Washington to monitor the storm – although he is still set to attend a rally with former President Bill Clinton in Florida earlier on Monday.
Visiting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Washington on Sunday, Barack Obama vowed his government would “respond big and respond fast” after Hurricane Sandy had passed.
Con Edison workers prepare for Hurricane Sandy using sandbags to cover up power vaults in New York
Amtrak has started suspending passenger train services across the north-eastern US and air travel has been badly hit, with some 6,800 flights cancelled.
New York City’s subway, bus and train services were suspended from 19:00 on Sunday, and schools will be shut on Monday.
With predicted storm surges of up to 11 ft, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered 375,000 people in the city’s vulnerable low-lying areas to leave their homes.
Evacuation shelters have been set up at 76 public schools.
“If you don’t evacuate you’re not just putting your own life in danger, you are also endangering lives of our first responders who would have to rescue you,” he said.
The Statue of Liberty was reopened on Sunday after a year of renovation, but only a group of army cadets got a tour before it was shut again until at least Wednesday.
Some 200 National Guardsmen will patrol Manhattan and 300 more will be deployed in Long Island.
The New York Stock Exchange will be fully closed on Monday, its operator said, and possibly on Tuesday as well.
It had earlier said electronic transactions would be possible but on Sunday announced it was closing fully because “the dangerous conditions developing as a result of Hurricane Sandy will make it extremely difficult to ensure the safety of our people and communities”.
Similar precautions were taken last year as Hurricane Irene approached the East Coast. It killed more than 40 people from North Carolina to Maine and caused an estimated $10 billion worth of damage.
FEMA has warned that the threat extends well inland, and has issued safety tips on how to cope with the hurricane.
Blustery winds were already being felt in New York on Sunday night and the anxiety felt on the streets indicated that residents were taking city orders seriously and with haste.
In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie confirmed a swathe of mandatory evacuations, told civil servants to stay at home on Monday and said the casinos in Atlantic City had closed.
“The weather will turn ugly [on Monday] and we want everyone off the roads,” he said.
“Don’t be stupid. Get out. Don’t try to be a hero and act as if nothing is going on here.”
New Jersey authorities expect very significant flooding, with three increasingly high tides on Monday, possibly creating surges of 13-14 ft – the worst since 1903, authorities said.
Hurricane Sandy has already killed 60 people in the Caribbean during the past week.
TRAVEL CHAOS IN NEW YORK
• New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced service on subways will be curtailed beginning at 7:00 p.m.
• The bus network will cease to operate at 9:00 p.m.
• Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad will start their finals trains by 7:00 p.m. from terminal locations
• Stations will close once the last trains pass through
• New Jersey has suspended all services from 4 p.m. Sunday until 2 a.m. Monday
“Once in a blue moon” is not just a phrase we use for those occasional treats or chores, but it is also a rare statistical quirk which occurs when a full moon occurs twice in a calendar month.
Sadly, the moon is not going to turn blue, and indeed the reason why we call it a “blue moon” is lost to history, although the Farmers’ Almanac would always note an occurrence during the 18th century.
Regardless, today, Friday, August 31, will be the first “blue moon” since March 2010 and there will not be another one again until July 2015 – so it’s time to get on with that list of things to do.
With a full moon occurring once every 29 days, and a month topping out with a maximum of 31 days, the combination is a rare one – occurring around once every two-and-a-half years.
Blue Moon is a rare statistical quirk which occurs when a full moon occurs twice in a calendar month
Sadly, we cannot expect the moon to take on a different hue. Barring volcanic eruption, it will remain as white as ever, unless clouds obscure the view.
If a volcano does erupt, then all bets are off, as ash in the sky has been known to play visual tricks with the sun and the moon.
When Krakatoa erupted in Indonesia in 1883 – where ash soared right into the upper echelons of the atmosphere, blue moons were reported around the world, for up to two years.
Krakatoa’s ash is the reason. Some of the ash-clouds were filled with particles about 1 micron (one millionth of a meter) wide – the right size to strongly scatter red light, while allowing other colors to pass.
White moonbeams shining through the clouds emerged blue, and sometimes green.
Blue moons persisted for years after the eruption. People also saw lavender suns and, for the first time, noctilucent clouds.
The ash caused “such vivid red sunsets that fire engines were called out in New York, Poughkeepsie, and New Haven to quench the apparent conflagration”, according to volcanologist Scott Rowland at the University of Hawaii.
Other less potent volcanos have turned the moon blue, too. People saw blue moons in 1983, for instance, after the eruption of the El Chichon volcano in Mexico. And there are reports of blue moons caused by Mt. St. Helens in 1980 and Mount Pinatubo in 1991.
According to NASA, the key to a blue moon is having in the air lots of particles slightly wider than the wavelength of red light (0.7 micron) – and no other sizes present. This is rare, but volcanoes sometimes spit out such clouds, as do forest fires.
Physics professor Sue Ann Bowling of the University of Alaska said: “On September 23, 1950, several muskeg fires that had been quietly smoldering for several years in Alberta suddenly blew up into major – and very smoky – fires.
“Winds carried the smoke eastward and southward with unusual speed, and the conditions of the fire produced large quantities of oily droplets of just the right size (about 1 micron in diameter) to scatter red and yellow light.
“Wherever the smoke cleared enough so that the sun was visible, it was lavender or blue.
“Ontario and much of the east coast of the U.S. were affected by the following day, but the smoke kept going. Two days later, observers in England reported an indigo sun in smoke-dimmed skies, followed by an equally blue moon that evening.”
Reuters photographer Luke MacGregor’s perfectly timed snap captured the full moon forming a sixth ring in the Olympic display on London’s Tower Bridge.
The masterpiece quickly made the rounds online, with “Tower Bridge” becoming a top trending item on Twitter.
The perfectly aligned composition graced London’s skyline Friday night, on the bridge over the River Thames.
Reuters photographer Luke MacGregor’s perfectly timed snap captured the full moon forming a sixth ring in the Olympic display on London's Tower Bridge
Many praised the magnificent picture on Twitter, calling it “epic” and a “must see”.
But others couldn’t resist joking about the unsanctioned modification by nature of the logo, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) went to painstaking efforts to prevent the unlicensed use of its brand by local retailers.
“Moon taken to court by IOC for violating Olympic brand ban,” one Twitter user quipped.
The official Twitter account for the IOC did not tweet in response to the lunar insertion into the organization’s trademarked logo.
The five interlocking rings represent the five parts of the world involved in the global games.
The symbol was designed in 1912 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games.
Supermoon has graced the skies, appearing bigger and brighter than usual, as it comes closer to the Earth – and is likely to bring higher tides.
The phenomenon, known as a perigee full moon, means the Moon appears up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter than when it is furthest from the planet.
The optimum effect was seen – cloud permitting – at 04:30 BST (03:30 GMT).
The Royal Astronomical Society’s Dr. Robert Massey said the Moon’s size may be more obvious than its brightness.
“The eye is so good at compensating for changes in brightness that you simply don’t notice (that element) so much,” said Dr. Robert Massey.
Supermoon has graced the skies, appearing bigger and brighter than usual, as it comes closer to the Earth
When the Moon appears at its biggest it will be just 356,400km (221,457 miles) away, compared to its usual distance from Earth of 384,000km (238,606 miles).
Dr. Robert Massey said: “When the Moon is closest to the Earth and full or new, you get an increase in the tidal pull in the ocean because the gravity of the moon and the sun line up.”
He added: “The Moon is always beautiful and a full moon is always dramatic.”
Scientists have dismissed the idea the perigee could cause strange behavior – like lycanthropy – or natural disasters.
The Moon’s distance from Earth varies because it follows an elliptical orbit instead of a circular one.
Astronomers say the moon will go “super” this weekend, but that will mean bad news for the meteor shower watchers.
The Super Moon, or the year’s biggest full moon, will delight all on 5th of May, 2012, starting from 23:35 EST (or 03:35 GMT on May 6th). Even though the moon will be at its biggest for just a few hours, the full moon will appear to last for a full three days starting on 4th May till 6th May.
Unfortunately, the bright moon will wipe out the faint Eta Aquarids, the meteor shower from the debris of the Halley comet. However, given that the Eta Aquarids register at a high count of 60 meteors per hour, one shouldn’t lose all hope. Let’s just say that it won’t be seen in its usual self. Meteor shower enthusiasts will agree that the Aquarids are not really that bad a miss.
The Super Moon happens at the full moon when the moon is closest to the Earth. The 2011 Super Moon was spectacular – the moon won’t be that close to the Earth in another 18 years.
The Super Moon, or the year’s biggest full moon, will delight all on 5th of May, 2012, starting from 23.35 EST
This year’s Super Moon won’t be that great, but it will still be quite a sight, with the moon appearing 14% bigger and 28% brighter than usual full moon nights.
Photo enthusiasts interested in sky watching should definitely aim at photographing the Super Moon. Last year’s was a bumper catch and this time too people are optimistic. A tripod is not necessary, as you’ll require really small exposure time for the moon, but getting to a place with a clear sky will definitely mean a lot for the clarity of the photo. Unlike other night photos, you will be well-advised to keep the ISO of your camera sensor low.
And as for the Eta Aquarids, we aren’t very optimistic, especially if you were planning to photograph them. Living in the Southern Hemisphere will give you a slight advantage and you’ll be lucky to see a few good and bright streaks. The fact that you won’t be able keep your camera shutter open for most of the area in the sky, due to the bright moon, will not help your cause.