Middle East stargazers feel the pull of the supermoon

Middle East stargazers feel the pull of the supermoon
Surfers and stargazers are eagerly awaiting Monday's sunset, when the moon will move its closest to the earth in nearly 70 years.
3 min read
14 Nov, 2016
The supermoon will be visible, weather permitting, just after sunset on Monday [AFP]

The world will witness the closest "supermoon" to earth in 68 years on Monday night - an event that has many eagerly anticipating the spectacular sight.

A clear night sky - untainted by clouds or pollution - should allow onlookers to see an unusually large moon loom over the horizon just after sunset.

This phenomena occurs when the earth's satellite reaches its fullness at the same time as the perigree phase - its closest point to earth during its monthly orbit.

"On November 14, it becomes full within about two hours of perigee - arguably making it an extra-super Moon," NASA said on its website.

Since the moon's orbit changes from time to time, the perigree also varies. On Monday evening, the distance will be 356,509 kilometres - its closest since January 1948.

In many parts of the Middle East, the supermoon will be visible at around 5pm to 5:30pm, weather permitting.

Surfers will also delight in the fact that the supermoon will mean a stronger tide, bringing bigger waves for a moonlit adventure.

If you miss tonight's supermoon the wait won't have to wait as long, with another ascending on 14 December. Sadly, atronomers say it will not be as impressive as Monday's supermoon.

The next comparable supermoon will be in 2034, when the distance between the earth and its satellite will be 64km closer to the earth.

Meanwhile, late on both 15 November and 16, you can look for the moon to eclipse the red giant star, Aldebaran, in the centre of the Taurus constellation.

Those star-fans in the Middle East will be the best placed in the world to see the "bulls-eye" formation on the night of the 15, according to National Geographic.

Meanwhile, star-gazers in the Middle East are gathering at Mushrif Park in Dubai on Monday night to witness the supermoon in the company of the Dubai Astronomy Group with many more across Middle East rapt with anticipation.

"Supermoon from the top of Jebel Haroub,
at the edge of the [Saudi] kingdom"